Feature Family

Meet Eli Thomas

Eli Thomas made his way through 16 novels on his own this school year and still had plenty of time for modifying and driving RC cars – his passion. The 10-year-old wants to be a drift car racer when he grows up.

“You can usually catch him at birthday parties hanging out with the dads talking about cars,” his mom Krystal shared.

But back when the pandemic started, Eli didn’t have quite so much confidence in reading and writing, which impacted him in other areas. Within a month of distance learning, Krystal could tell Eli was frustrated and well behind his peers in Language Arts.

“We couldn’t get him to touch a chapter book if his life depended on it and getting him to do any writing or bookwork was like pulling teeth,” Krystal said. “There were lots of tears and frustration from the both of us on many occasions.”

Then the Thomas family enrolled with Venture Upward and learned about our Student Success Team program, which allows parents to ask for additional help for students at any time – even at the first sign of struggle. Parents, the student, and staff work together as a team to come up with the best plan to help each unique student.

“Since we haven’t always homeschooled our children, having this support system during our transition made a world of difference,” Krystal explained. “I’m not sure we would be where we are today without their help!”

The team has met every few weeks to check in and see what was working for Eli and what was not. If something wasn’t working, they changed it until they found the right solution.

“They’ve helped give me different tips and tricks to try, and involved a speech therapist and math tutor to meet with him weekly as needed,” Krystal added.

“It can be easy to get caught up in the day-to-day routine and not see the progress your student is making, but since the beginning, my mentor and everyone else involved has given us praise and reassurance on how hard Eli has been working, which has pushed us to keep going and not give up!”

After almost two years, Eli is about to graduate from the Student Success Team. Congratulations to Eli! We are all so proud of you.

“Eli is overall more confident in all areas of his life, especially his school work. It is safe to say that his hard work has paid off!” Krystal shared.

“We are inspired by the many successes of our students, families, and staff, which exhibit our mission of embracing a love of learning in action. I look forward to sharing the story of how our student Eli Thomas worked hard with the support of his Student Success Team to overcome reading difficulties.”

~Jon Funes, CEO and Founder of Venture Upward