WICHITA, Kans. (KSNW) – The Pando Initiative is working to create a community where every student graduates ready for the next stage of their life.

The non-profit connects students with resources to help them reach their full potential.

Fourth-grader Hayley gives a raving review, “[Monique is] really fun.”

Once a week, for an hour, she meets with her mentor.

“We laugh and play games,” Hayley said.

“Board games are great because they teach reasoning and logic and strategy,” Monique Garcia, mentor for The Pando Initiative, said.

“Identify students who are struggling in school and in life and just help fill in those gaps with whatever they may need,” she said.

The idea is to remove barriers kids face in the classroom and at home.

“Helping with tutoring, mentoring … we partner with the Kansas Food Bank and do the Food4Kids program to help address the hunger issue over the weekend,” David Larson, student support advocate at Cloud Elementary, said.

The mentor is the link between students and resources.

“When kids see that they’re …. not just a face in the crowd and that they matter, and you get to be part of kids loving themselves and loving school,” Larson said.

A lot can happen in 60 minutes — maybe enough time to guarantee an A+.

“Help them thrive,” Garcia said. “Not only in school but life.”

The Pando Initiative is in schools across Wichita, Derby and Haysville.

People can reach out to learn more about signing up children for the program.

Three ways to support The Pando Initiative:

  1. Become a mentor
  2. Volunteer for special events or participate on a committee.
  3. Donate