Local mentoring program Whiz Kids is celebrating its 21st anniversary by recognizing some incredible Oklahoma City volunteers. Whiz Kids is a faith-based, one-on-one volunteer tutoring and mentoring program that focuses on first-through sixth-grade students who live in areas that have some of the highest drop-out rates and lowest socioeconomic levels in Oklahoma City.
Mercedius Jones, a Boeing electrical engineer, recently received an Outstanding Mentor Award for his volunteer work with Whiz Kids Oklahoma from Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence Chairman David L. Boren and President Anil Gollahalli during Oklahoma Mentor Day at the State Capitol.
“Mercedius is a hard-working young man who has taken an interest in mentoring at a very young age,” said Sarah Skinner, communication manager for Whiz Kids. “He has been a tutor and mentor to his mentee Joshua for the last three years at the Whiz Kids Oklahoma Prospect Baptist site.
As an electrical engineer for Boeing, Mercedius draws and sketches airplanes, which is fitting since Joshua loves airplanes and comic drawings, too. A favorite activity of the dynamic duo is when Mercedius sketches airplanes and Joshua colors and tries to recreate the airplanes. Mercedius has purchased comic books and airplane books for the two to read during Whiz Kids’ time. Joshua wants to be an electrical engineer just like Mercedius when he grows up, Skinner said.
“Mercedius inspires and motivates Joshua to be all that he can be and pushes him to do better than average,” she said. “He is an encourager and recruiter to get others from his workplace to be mentors and tutors, as well. He has recruited more than 10 Boeing employees to take the time to give back through tutoring and mentoring with Whiz Kids.”
Whiz Kids is proactive and preventative in nature, targeting inner-city schools and students who are reading below grade level and who could benefit most from a one-on-one relationship with a caring adult.