Chairman’s Update – Summer 2011
Dear Invest in Youth tutors and supporters,
This fall Invest in Youth will begin its fifteenth school year matching local professionals with elementary school students for weekly tutoring and mentoring sessions. In addition to being an important anniversary year for Invest in Youth, 2011 also marks the beginning of a new chapter for the organization.
This past year, Invest in Youth hired its first part-time Executive Director to replace Harriett Morton, our inspirational Founder, who had filled this role on a de facto, volunteer basis since the programs inception. During these early years and up to the present, Harriett tirelessly managed much of the day-to-day operations of this no-longer-small program. In February, the board was able to relieve Harriett of some of this burden when we welcomed Courtney Jones-Vanderleest to Invest in Youth as our new part-time Executive Director. In just a few months, Courtney has deftly mastered our many administrative efforts and volunteer activites, while also providing support to each of our schools Program Managers. We hope that this transition, several years in the making, will provide consistency and continuity for our students, tutors, program managers, principals and parents – all of whom contribute time and support to our tutoring program each week.
Another change for Invest in Youth was our Founder, Harriett Morton, stepping down as Board Chairman. Harriett will remain deeply involved with the organization and currently leads our fundraising efforts. As I assume the role of Chairman, I am both deeply honored and humbled to have been chosen to lead the Board through this exciting time. As the Board and I work together to ensure that Invest in Youth continues into the future, these changes represent the first a vital steps for the organization to become an independent, sustainable entity.
I joined Invest in Youth as a tutor in 2004, shortly after moving to Seattle. It was a great way to develop roots in the community, while also building a professional network with other tutors. Over the years, I have tutored at four very different Seattle elementary schools and worked with several delightful and eager-to-learn students. Over the last two years at Beacon Hill International School, I worked with the same student, allowing a longer-term mentoring relationship to develop. Watching my student’s academic progress and her determination to succeed and grow during our time together was nothing short of powerful. I know many Invest in Youth tutors have shared this same experience.
Wanting to become more involved with the program, I joined Invest in Youth’s Board of Directors in 2008. It became clear just how much behind-the-scenes work it takes to keep this seemingly simple program chugging along so smoothly. I have been privileged to work with and learn from such a talented and dedicated group of fellow Board members. I look forward to working with them to shape the organization’s future!
With the benefit of a strengthened infrastructure, the 2011-2012 school year promises to be an exciting one for Invest in Youth. Demand for new tutors at each of our four partner schools continues to increase and we hope to fill this need by starting the year with at least 100 tutors, up from approximately 85 last year. We continue to enhance our curriculum and tutor tools to support our students’ learning, and the evaluation process we developed two years ago is helping shape this effort. We will kick off the fall with our first Invest in Youth Golf Classic on Thursday, September 15th—it promises to be a fun afternoon for IIY supporters new and old to come together in support of this great program. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to register for this event right away as spaces for both golfers and the banquet are filling up fast!
While much has certainly changed since Harriett tutored a single student at Bailey Gatzert Elementary School on her way home from work—much has remained the same. At our core, Invest in Youth remains committed to its mission to enhance the academic abilities, self-confidence and life prospects of struggling learners in the Seattle Public Schools. As well, the desire to provide a meaningful and rewarding experience for our volunteer tutors continues to be a driving force behind all that we do. We hope you will join us in these efforts by investing your time, your talents and your dollars this fall!
Sara E. Hasan
Chairman, Invest in Youth