Why We Give: Urban Ventures

Every year, 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS highlights the work that local organizations are doing.

It’s part of our Why We Give series.

At 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, we work with Urban Ventures because of its ongoing commitment to addressing opportunity gaps.

Urban Ventures works alongside dozens of local organizations to work on various challenges such as education, nutrition, and parenting resources. The big goal: To send every one of its children in this neighborhood to college or post-secondary education.

KSTP’s Brandi Powell introduces us to two Urban Ventures staff members working on its literacy program.

Urban Ventures’ Reading Plus Tutor Mike Peterson said much of their work started with their son, who required targeted tutoring multiple times a week.

Now, he and his wife Kendra’s reach extends beyond the home. The Petersons’ work with Urban Ventures on childhood literacy uses a special approach and method.

Kendra Peterson said, "A lot of times, this kind of tutoring can be really expensive."

As director of Urban Ventures’ Reading Plus program, Kendra said she and Mike work with a handful of schools in the city.

Kendra said, "We now can do this sort of tutoring and partner with schools and families, who are working hard and doing all of the things that they can, and we can just come in and be another resource."

Their work helps children with reading development.

Mike Peterson said, "They’ll give us a group of students who we assess."

The Petersons said what keeps them excited goes far beyond the ABCs.

Mike Peterson said, "The relationships that we get to build and the relationships with families, it’s mentoring." But, Kendra said, "It’s also married with tutoring." Mike agreed: "Yes," he continued. "Mentoring and tutoring, and we’ve seen incredible outcomes."

It’s all aimed toward Urban Ventures’ mission of empowerment through education.

Kendra Peterson said, "One of the biggest successes is what we see in students’ confidence."