How One Company’s Gift Impacted a Family
When Blake Burau returned to Lee’s Summit West (LSW) High School last year as a senior, it was only one short month after losing his mother, Rhonda Vansickle, to cancer. The youngest of Rhonda’s three boys, he was the last son remaining at home.
As Rhonda’s fiancé, Roger Wendel, Jr., recalls, “I was an urban core fireman in KCMO for 26 years, and the hardest thing I ever had to do was not fighting the house fires, or cutting people out of cars on I-70, but walking down those seven steps to the basement (where the boys were playing video games) to tell these three amazing kids that their mother had Stage IV breast cancer and the outlook was grim, since she could not bring herself to do it. After that night, we lived every day to the max for the next three years, so we all have no regrets. Still, with the passing of his mom came moving, selling the house, visits to the Social Security Office, etc. All of this while Blake was trying to concentrate on school. It was extremely hard.”
Blake was a stand-out football player but only a fair student, and given all the stress he’d been experiencing, his studies proved even more challenging. That’s where our neighbors at Club Z! In Home Tutoring stepped in—and made all the difference.
Now celebrating its 10th year serving our community, Club Z! has a long history of giving back to the Lee’s Summit School District. The company has regularly given a five percent discount to all Kids Country Families, been a District Business Partner, offered and taught Study Skills lessons in the elementary schools, and designed and implemented programs and services such as Study Skills, Math Prep, ACT Prep, and its “Connect” program.
Through the Connect program, each semester, an elementary school is chosen to receive a 20-hour package of tutoring delivered in a student’s home.
“To date, we’ve given 160 hours of tutoring to the elementary schools,” says Jayme Richardson, Club Z! owner and area director. “We have the Connect Program implemented in all three high schools, as well. We offer an ACT Prep Scholarship wherein one student from each high school is selected to receive our 16-hour ACT Prep program. The Lee’s Summit West Booster Club sponsors an additional ACT Scholarship to be awarded to a LSW student. To date, we’ve awarded seven ACT scholarships and empowered seven students to go to college and follow their dreams.”
Blake, blessedly, received Club Z!’s ACT and Math Prep Scholarships. “Even though Blake was a senior, he’d not yet taken the ACT as it was not a top priority with his mother being so sick,” says Richardson. “Blake buckled down and completed our 16-hour ACT Prep. This coupled with one-on-one math support twice a week for the school year was a winning combination for Blake. He not only finished the year with a B in Algebra 2, but he’s now able to go to Missouri Western and play football with his brother.”
“Everyone at Club Z! encouraged Blake to stay with the program, kept him positive and were extremely patient with him—especially the math tutor,” says Roger. “They were tremendous! Blake ended up passing the ACT by one question on his second try and is eligible by the NCAA to play football this year. We can’t thank the good folks at Club Z! enough. Today, Blake is practicing with the Missouri Western Griffon Football Team, has just started his college classes, and is on the same football team as his older brother, LSW’s All State Tight End Austin Burau. Thanks to Club Z!, the two brothers are together again—as it should be!”
For more information on Club Z! In Home Tutoring, visit ClubZTutoring.com.