What does $2,800 buy?  Hope and opportunity.


In our community, access to specialized  educational intervention isn’t limited to families with financial means. One out of three Great Minds Learning Center students receives free lunch at school. Thanks to funding from generous donors, those students can receive our services too.


Lake Country Power sponsored Great Minds Learning Center in the 2018 Kiwanis Minute to Win It challenges on the Feb. 8 at the Timberlake Lodge in Grand Rapids, taking home the first prize award of $2,800 for GMLC!

The prize money will go directly into the scholarship fund to continue to make tutoring services available to students with financial need.

Ten corporate sponsors competed in a series of silly challenges for the chance to win money for their favorite nonprofits. The four-person team from Lake Country Power gave a fierce performance on behalf of our tutoring center.

LCP Electrical Engineering Technician Angie Clafton spoke to the audience about GMLC’s positive impact on her sons, and GMLC Executive Director Marianne Jylha gave a short talk about our organization and expressed gratitude to all for their devoted support to nonprofit organizations in the area.

We thank Lake Country Power, Grand Rapids Noon Kiwanis Club, and all of our other donors who support our students throughout the year.

Would you like to make a donation to our scholarship fund? Click here to find out how you can be part of the mission to help children and adults accomplish their educational and personal goals. Every dollar helps!

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My daughter was in the select 3%.  Impressive- a tiny sliver of the pie.  Unfortunately this was her score on a nationwide scale of spelling ability.  She was in the 4th grade and in the bottom 3% for spelling in the nation.  I am her mom and I have an elementary teaching degree with a concentration in reading and language arts.  I couldn’t help her.  Her reading skills scored closer to 20%, but still well below average.  I had been a wreck over this for 3 years already.  The next step was testing to qualify for special education services.  


One word put the skids on this train wreck: dyslexia.  Her literacy skills were in the toilet, but she demonstrated “superior reasoning” in math, exceptional social skills, a healthy IQ and fantastic problem solving skills.   You don't’ get to 4th grade as a poor reader without being creative and inventive. After a couple months of exploring options available it became obvious that I had to be the hero in this story.  What a hero needs is a super power.  I found this super power in the Barton System for Reading and Spelling.  This program came in the mail with all the training and tools I needed.  We started immediately….  We began a play of tantrums, bribery, tears, encouragement, flying notebooks, smiles, pencil stabs and growth.  After the first week I knew…  I knew we were doing intervention right.  No question about it.  It was not easy, but mother and daughter sat together at the kitchen table and we learned together.


Fast forward to conferences 2017 of her junior year of high school.  How can I describe the swell in our hearts as her dad & I met with teacher after teacher.  Seven years ago we were looking at the options… which looked like special ed or no special ed.  How could we be so lucky to have a young woman who clawed through, worked hard and brings smiles and laughter to her classes every day.  She is a solid B student with countless skills that can’t be measured.  She is a happy and successful person and we are grateful.



Every four months, we do a short assessment to see how are students are progressing. 

We love doing these assessments because we get to witness moments like these:


When Sam started working with his tutor Kasey, he was reading at 23 percent of his grade level.  After six months of tutoring, Sam is now at 97 percent.  It's exciting to see the hard work pay off and it's exciting to see how proud parents are of the progress! 

I didn't grow up watching the Fonz because "Happy Days" was too inappropriate for my sisters and I.  Despite our sheltered upbrining, we all knew about "The Fonz" and caught a few shows here and there while someone was on the lookout. (Sorry, Mom!)

While crowds of Screaming People Love Henry Winkler for his role as Arthur "The Fonz" Fonzarelli, I admire the actor who played him, Henry Winkler, for his work for dyslexia awareness. 

Thank you, Mr. Winkler, for sharing your story so that others might understand. 


Check out this video on Henry Winkler here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sn93Itn08fc


The most common sound of the letter A is the "short" A sound, as in the word apple. To make this sound properly open mouth, tongue down.... just as you are preparing to take a big bite from an apple.

If the sound isn't coming out quite right, remind your child to open wide to receive the big apple!

I like to have my students physically bring their hand to their mouth, pretending that they are going to take a big bite, all while making that proper A sound. /a/ apple





When children have trouble vocalizing a vowel sound, the word doesn't come out right. There is no recognition. The child keeps saying sounds but they don't recognize the word they are *almost* saying.

The short O sound is tricky for many.

Here's a great tip to help with that!

It's always good to have a word associated with a letter to jog the memory. For O we use "olive".
A sliced olive looks exactly like that letter O! To make that sound you have to form your mouth into the shape of an O and an olive. Open nice and wide and say Ahhhh.