Entrepreneurship Spotlight: Marie Williams
The Business Innovation Group’s Marie Williams is Changing the Educational Landscape in Statesboro One Child at a Time
Marie Williams is currently offering Statesboro’s first traveling tutoring camp and summer program for students ages 6 – 12 in an effort to bridge grade-level standard gaps in the area. Statesboro resident Shunda “Marie” Alston Williams, 33, is the owner and operator of Williams Events, an educational event planning service, and Innovation Incubator client. After experiencing a downturn in her event planning business and witnessing academic disparities in her son, Williams began the W.E. Move! Tutoring Camp and Summer Fun program.
Williams said she thought W.E. Move! could do two things: provide supplemental income during the decline in Williams Events clientele and support her son in his academic areas of need. After further research, Williams realized that W.E. Move! was an academic supplement that could benefit many young students in the Statesboro area.
Results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reading test in 2009 showed that 85 percent of low-income fourth-graders who attend high-poverty schools do not reach the NAEP’s reading standard. According to the 2016 U.S. Census, more than 50 percent of the Statesboro population is below the poverty line which puts many elementary school students in Statesboro in jeopardy of falling below the national standard.
In partnership with BIG, the We Move! summer program focuses on developing students’ reading and mathematics skills through individualized attention to combat Statesboro’s negative educational statistics.
Currently, the program is only being offered during June and July, summer vacation months for Georgia school systems. However, Williams has greater plans for the program.
“…I’m really thinking about how [I can] develop We Move! to be a year-round source for parents and children that have academic areas of need,” Williams said.
The W.E. Move! program has received a positive response from the Statesboro community, so much so that Williams was forced to shut down registration for the summer of 2018. Williams hopes to continue W.E. Move! as a branch of Williams Events.