Kids on Course is a non-profit program in Cedar Rapids, Iowa in collaboration with the Cedar Rapids
Community School District, administered by United Way of East Central Iowa, and funded by the
Zach Johnson Foundation. Kids on Course inspires in students the confidence to realize their
academic and individual potential by providing creative and inventive opportunities that connect
students and families to the community, schools, and higher learning. Kids on Course is
currently based at three elementary schools in Cedar Rapids: Grant, Harrison and Van Buren.
Kids on Course staff are placed full-time in the schools. This allows us to meet students where they are academically, learn each school’s culture, and collaborate with school staff on a daily basis. Because we are on the ground-level, we are able to build long-lasting relationships with students, families, and staff.
Kids on Course provides a cocoon of supports to wrap around students: addressing barriers, engaging families, enrichment, and supporting academics. We work with school staff and community partners to ensure our schools are not just a place of learning, but also a haven for students to thrive academically, socially, and mentally.
Our promise doesn’t stop in elementary school. We are committed to seeing our kids graduate from post-secondary education. Kids on Course is designed to follow students that start with us in elementary and support them along the way, including the opportunity to earn a college scholarship.
Kids on Course is a dream of Zach Johnson and his wife Kim. He was born in Iowa City, and raised in Cedar Rapids. He took up golf at age ten and honed his skills at Elmcrest Country Club. In 2003, while playing on the Nationwide Tour, Zach won twice and topped the money list with record earnings. Topping the list automatically qualified Zach for the 2004 PGA TOUR. His 11 wins on the TOUR include the 2012 John Deere Classic, which he calls his fifth major, the 2014 Hyundai Tournament of Champions and the 2007 Masters.
With all of the success Johnson has experienced over the last decade, he has stayed connected to his roots. “While I like winning golf tournaments, I enjoy helping kids and families in need even more. I feel like I was put on this Earth to do more than chase a white ball around a golf course,” he said. Zach and Kim are founding members of the Zach Johnson Foundation, which fully funds Kids on Course.
Married in 2003, Zach and his wife, Kim have three children, Will, Wyatt, and Abby Jane. They now reside in St. Simons Island, Georgia.
IMAGE CREDIT: (left) Images of Grace Photography (right) Joe Photo
Doing whatever it takes so students achieve their dreams and succeed.
Connect schools and families to community resources to ensure that students are physically, socially, and emotionally ready to learn.
Provide an avenue through which families can be positively connected to school and the community and engaged in their student’s learning.
Provide academic support and resources to teachers, parents, and students to ensure a clear path to graduating from high school and college.
Collaborate with artists, athletes, and creatives to improve student’s self-efficacy, resiliency, academic achievement, and engagement in school.
This past summer 108 incoming 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th graders from Harrison and Van Buren Elementary Schools attended our academic camp called KOC University. The students made tremendous growth over our six week program: 15% growth in reading skills, 62% growth in writing skills, 129% growth in math computation skills.
484 total students are involved in enrichment or another before or after-school activity sponsored by
Kids on Course. Many of these students would not have the opportunity to participate otherwise.
This school year, AmeriCorps members are currently tutoring 39 students. Additionally, over 160 students are receiving high-quality tutoring after school through Kids on Course. Kids on Course provides snack and transportation to tutoring students, free of charge.
Over 250 people attended our November family clubs at Harrison, Van Buren, and Grant Elementary Schools. Every month, families come for a free meal, team-building activities and games, a small learning component, and lots of fun.
Additional mental health funding from the Zach Johnson Foundation is providing individual and group therapy for about 15-30 students at our schools. Through a partnership with Tanager, students are receiving therapy from a licensed mental health therapist, at school every week, a service they wouldn’t have access to otherwise.