Waukegan To College (W2C)


Waukegan to College creates brighter futures for students, families and communities by preparing students to enroll in and graduate from college.

Company Overview

Waukegan to College (W2C) is a college readiness program that was founded by Lake County United (LCU), a broad-based citizen’s organization composed of roughly 35 churches, synagogues, mosques, and nonprofit organizations that work to improve the quality of life of the residents in Lake County. In July 2012, W2C launched as an independent organization and now is a member institution of LCU!


W2C began in September 2009 by recruiting families from Lake County United member organizations. W2C served 25 students and their families in 2009-10 and grew to 33 students for the 2010-11 school year. Had 50 students for the 2011-2012 school year and has reached its maximum capacity of 60 students with a wait list for the 2012-2013 year.

In the pilot year of W2C:
– 5 of 5 graduating seniors we…See More

General Information

Waukegan to College (W2C), a college readiness program focused on helping students and their families achieve the goal of going to college through one-on-one family meetings, advocacy, workshops, individual tutoring, and mentoring.

Students in W2C range from 5th graders through college. By starting the program with students just before they enter middle school, we are able to establish high academic expectations and reinforce a sense that college, with hard work, is attainable. Currently, students from LCU member institutions can apply to the program in May for the upcoming school year. Students must have a letter of recommendation from a leader in the institution, at least a 2.0 GPA if in high school, and be committed to fully participating in the program.

There are several ways to volunteer with W2C:


Many W2C students need extra help to succeed in school. If you enjoy helping students learn in subjects ranging from English and math to Spanish and science (even German!) tutoring may be for you! Tutors work one-on-one with W2C students on Saturday mornings (9-12) in Waukegan.

Each student works with a tutor for one hour on a specified subject and will bring materials such as homework, a test/quiz to review, or other class materials. Tutors are assigned a student, time slot and a subject each week. Many tutors work for more than 1 time slot with more than 1 student. Each week W2C staff puts together a roster of tutors and students so that tutors know subject(s), student(s) and time slot(s) they will be tutoring. W2C strives to assign the same tutor to the same student(s) each week to build a relationship. For volunteers who can’t commit to a weekly assignment, W2C does maintain a substitute list and these volunteers are contacted to fill in when a regular tutor will be absent.

Tutors come from a variety of backgrounds – some are highly trained engineers and scientists, others are parents who have helped their own children with homework. W2C talks with tutors to understand their skills and levels at which they would be comfortable tutoring. Some work with 5th graders on reading while others work with high schoolers on calculus, fulfilling a wide range of needs.

Read to Achieve Reader (R2A)

Reading is an essential life skill and all of our W2C students will benefit from improving their reading abilities. Read to Achieve takes place on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons and evenings at the Waukegan Public Library. It is designed to improve W2C students’ reading abilities, specifically vocabulary, comprehension and fluency.

Each reader works with a student for ½ hour. The volunteer can bring materials (W2C has materials available) or the student can bring class reading assignments. The student reads aloud and the volunteer checks comprehension and whether the student knows the meaning of more difficult words in the text. Each student will have a reading assessment at the start and end of the program.


If you want to guide a student, help them envision their future, and realize their college dreams, coaching may be for you. Each coach will be paired with a student and will meet with them monthly to discuss academic progress and to coach them on reaching their goals. Meetings may be for ice cream or be more elaborate, like a trip to a museum.

Coaches are assigned to students in high school. Coaches of juniors and seniors focus on college-related activities – visiting campuses, working on applications, identifying scholarships, etc. Coaches of younger students begin by working on envisioning future plans and skills for success.

Each coaching relationship is unique so coaches and students typically work independently. There are optional coaches’ meetings where coaches can share what’s working and what’s challenging in their relationships. For late high schoolers there are meetings with college counselors and workshops to guide students, coaches and parents through the college process.

Organizational Development

W2C is going into its third school year of operation and needs help in several administrative areas. Advisors in communications/public relations, fundraising, website development are needed.

Note: All volunteers must complete a child protection training session and have a background check by W2C.

Please contact Elyse Danckers, edanckers.w2c@gmail.com, to get involved.


About waukegan2college13

Waukegan to College (W2C) is a college readiness program that was founded by Lake County United (LCU), a broad-based citizen's organization composed of roughly 35 churches, synagogues, mosques, and nonprofit organizations that work to improve the quality of life of the residents in Lake County. In July 2012, W2C launched as an independent organization and now a member institution of LCU!

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