During 1999, the Windsor Stake Public Affairs Council of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was asked to organize a community project focused on improving literacy in a local elementary school. Kathy Gowans, Stake Director of Public Affairs, took on this task. By April, the effort to adopt Windsor Elementary School as a community effort supporting their tutoring needs was initiated.
Gowans has donated more than 100 hours monthly for the past several years to literacy efforts. She utilizes her organizational skills and designed the purpose, scope, consequences, resources, resources, guidelines and potential pitfalls of the before and after school tutoring program. She has mobilized other community volunteers so they can see the vision of WEALTH – Windsor Elementary After-school Literacy Tutoring Help – and donate their time, effort and resources also.
The goal of WEALTH is to create and provide one-on-one tutoring for language delayed and ESL students who were reading below grade level and were not served by other programs. Gowans is the Organization Development Consultant. She provides leadership for the program design. She facilitated the development of the materials, refined the program and program materials, recruited volunteers, delivered tutor training and modeled effective tutoring.
Windsor Elementary provided a clear picture of their unmet needs, and WEALTH provided solutions. The school also provided space, access to materials and ongoing teacher, PTA and volunteer support. The 1999-2000 school year was a pilot year for the WEALTH program. The community learned how to work together toward a common goal while leveraging existing and new resources. Fifteen students were tutored and tutor-training materials were designed supporting the district philosophy and practices. The next year was a year fro refinement to figure our leadership roles key to ongoing program success.
Because of Gowans’ education, young men, women, adults and senior citizens have found ways to contribute to this community project. More than 30 students have increased their reading levels also. There have been bonds of friendship and nurturing also established between children, their families and caring adults as a result of Kathy Gowan.