Great Minds Learning Center depends on monthly contributions from sustaining donors to keep the lights on and keep tutoring costs low. We interviewed longtime supporter Jill Somero, who has made monthly donations of $70 since 2015, to find out why she gives to GMLC.

By Elana Warsen

Dyslexia became personal for Jill Somero of Maple Grove, MN when her son Wil reached second grade and was expected to do more writing in school.

“His reading ability was pretty much at grade level, but writing was very painful to the point where if he had to write two sentences he would cry,” says Jill. “He had a lot of difficulty turning his thoughts into words and a really hard time with spelling.”

Determined to help her son, Jill reached out to her childhood friend and Great Minds Learning Center Founder Marianne Jylha, who told her that Wil’s difficulties could be signs of dyslexia. Marianne provided Jill with dyslexia resources she could use to work with Wil at home.

“Once I was able to explain to Wil that some kids learn differently than others the crying stopped and he was willing to work on the techniques Marianne had taught me,” says Jill. “Spelling doesn’t slow Wil down anymore.”

Jill decided to make a sustaining donation to GMLC to help another child without the resources to pay for tutoring.

“I want to do everything I can to help,” she says. “Literacy is the foundation of lifelong learning and I don’t think financial status should prevent somebody from getting that foundation.”

For Jill, setting up a recurring donation to GMLC was a one-time decision with lasting impact.

“Giving is not a decision I make each day,” says Jill, who opted to use her bank's autopay feature to simplify the donation process. “It’s a decision I made once. I figured out how much I could afford and set up an automatic payment through my bank. The check is mailed to Grand Rapids every month. I don’t notice that the money is gone and I’m happy when I do my taxes.”

Jill’s monthly donations allow GMLC students to experience hope and success just like Wil, who is in fifth grade now, and thriving.

“I know where my $70 goes when I send it to Great Minds,” Jill says.” I can think of that one child, like Wil, and know it’s going to them.”

You, too, can make a difference in the lives of children in our community. Become a sustaining donor today. Ask your financial institution about setting up automatic recurring donations to Great Minds Learning Center.

For more information about giving to GMLC, visit our website.

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