Smart Sprouts

Smart Sprouts is an after-school program designed to help elementary-age children develop life skills and improve their academic performance. This program lasts the duration of the school year. The start time begins at school dismissal, 3:15 p.m., and ends at approximately 5:30 p.m., or until the child/children are picked up by a guardian. This after-school program has a turn-key curriculum designed for volunteers to use. The target goal is to increase the students’ reading capacity and academic performance, while developing safe relationships with adult volunteers.

Our SPROUTS are kids from kindergarten through fifth grade who currently attend after-school programs. Our volunteer BUDS mentor them, especially with reading and math skills. We have BUDS for our Smart Sprouts in 17 locations in McLean County! The Smart Sprouts program is administered in all locations throughout the school year. Any child attending partnering after-school programs is welcome to participate in the Smart Sprouts program.

The BUDS who tutor will help Smart Sprouts one-on-one with homework; work on reading, writing and math skills; read to the children or listen to them read. We also have BUDS who will teach life skills, such as fitness, nutrition, decision making, problem solving, responsibility, good citizenship, and financial skills.

YWCA has partnered with the Regional Office of Education to provide training resources for volunteer BUDS to show them how to best mentor children. Our BUDS have professional curriculum guides and on-site staff to help. In other words, we help our BUDS to help the children every step of the way! Parents may ask that their child attend Smart Sprouts, or teachers may recommend children if they are not currently attending the after-school program.



Smart Sprouts is offered in the following after-school locations and community centers:

  • Bent Elementary (at Sheridan) - 904 N. Roosevelt, Bloomington
  • Irving Elementary - 602 W. Jackson, Bloomington
  • Oakland Elementary - 1605 E. Oakland Ave., Bloomington
  • Sheridan Elementary- 1403 W. Walnut, Bloomington
  • Stevenson Elementary (and at YWCA) - 2106 Arrowhead Dr., Bloomington
  • Washington Elementary - 1201 E. Washington, Bloomington
  • YWCA McLean County (provided for any school attending in this location) - 1201 N. Hershey Rd., Bloomington 


If you are interested in volunteering as a Smart Sprouts Mentor, please contact YWCA Young Wonders! As a Smart Sprouts volunteer, you will have the opportunity to help students with homework and academic activities in an after-school setting. The program begins annually each September and runs the duration of the school year, following the District 87 schedule. Mentoring sessions vary from one to two hours, depending on your availability and during the after-school hours of 3:30 – 5:30 p.m.

For more information on the Smart Sprouts program, or to sign up as a volunteer, contact YWCA Wonders at (309) 662-0461, ext. 312 or [email protected]