Whiz Kids, Oklahoma City
Retired business woman Karen Roberts not only mentors for Whiz Kids by tutoring a child, but she also serves as a Whiz Kids coordinator for the Westwood Elementary site and as a recruiter at her church, The Bridge Assembly of God in Mustang.
Roberts’ first Whiz Kids relationship began in 2012 with Yazmin Maldonado and soon grew to include the whole Maldonado family, said Amy Bruce, communications and development manager for Whiz Kids Oklahoma. “Karen included Yazmin and her siblings in multiple outings to church, museums, the zoo, Easter Egg hunts, birthday parties and movies, helping them expand their world view. Karen’s family aided the Maldonados in a move to decent housing by utilizing inherited property. She includes the Maldonados in family holiday celebrations as well as activities with her own grandchildren,” Bruce said.
As Yazmin graduated from Whiz Kids, Roberts developed a new mentoring relationship with Alexis Martinez. She organizes field trips and fun activities with other tutors to encourage and develop strong bonds with the kids. Her Whiz Kids site recently used Roberts’ family homestead for a Whiz Kids outing.
Roberts’ family settled the Briscoe homestead in Mustang in 1889. Her grandmother was born in a dug-out on the property. Many generations have lived and attended school in Mustang. Because of Karen’s interest in child development and learning, she has run a daycare, taught preschool and Bible School, and served as substitute teacher and bus driver for Mustang Schools. Upon the death of her husband of 20 years, Randy Terrel, Roberts raised four teenagers. She has been married to Richard Roberts for 22 years and has 11 grandchildren. Roberts learned about Whiz Kids at The Bridge Assembly of God. “I knew God wanted me to do something,” Roberts said. “The previous Whiz Kids coordinator came to our Sunday School Class. I felt it was a calling.”
“Karen has given a cheerful gift to all those who meet her with Whiz Kids,” Bruce said. “Her efforts also help Whiz Kids grow the number of kids served at her site.”
About the Program: For 22 years, Whiz Kids has been working with at-risk kids in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area to improve reading skills and comprehension and to foster mentoring relationships with caring adults. Whiz Kids sites are churches in each school's community that donate their facility and provide tutors and an on-site coordinator.