By PrincessSafiya Byers
This story was originally published by Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service, where you can find other stories reporting on fifteen city neighborhoods in Milwaukee. Visit milwaukeenns.org.
After COVID-19 hit and schools went virtual, Jamal Cosey noticed his son, who was in his first year in high school, was falling behind.
“He was failing almost every class,” Cosey said. “It was so bad that I wanted to hold him back a year.”
With the help of family, Cosey found Edwards Educational Solutions to tutor his son.
“Now, he’s excelling in school, getting all A’s and B’s,” Cosey said. “I’ve realized that students might get the information at school, but at home is where it sticks.”
Bonnie and Cary Edwards created Edwards Educational Solutions after the couple retired: Bonnie served as a teacher for Milwaukee Public Schools, and Cary was a photojournalist for WISN-TV (Channel 12).
Their business tutors K-12 students while offering professional development and training to adults and educators.
“I just still had the burning desire to have an impact,” said Bonnie Edwards, who led the charge on getting the business started.
“There was definitely a need, especially once COVID hit,” she said.
And it all started with a Google search.
“We were just looking up opportunities and found the opportunity to purchase a tutoring franchise,” she said.
‘The world shut down’
After purchasing a Club Z! Tutoring franchise, they hired a dozen tutors and started partnering with organizations like the Milwaukee Public Schools and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee.
Then came the pandemic.
“We signed our second contract on Friday, and Monday the world shut down,” Edwards said. “MPS shut down, and the Boys and Girls Club shut down.”
Edwards said the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation, or WWBIC, became the pair’s saving grace. The organization helped the couple get back on their feet and launch their own business.
WWBIC provides nontraditional loans, services and resources to small businesses in Wisconsin.
According to Ed Byrnes, a small-business consultant for WWBIC, Edwards Educational Solutions has become a success despite the challenges created by the pandemic.
“Just last year, Edwards attended one of our luncheons and met the director of St. Joan Antida High School, and now they have a relationship with the school and tutor there,” he said. “We speak often, and they work hard to be involved and progress.”
Edwards said tutoring service can range from $42 to $45 an hour, but her organization works to make things cheaper by creating partnerships.
Cosey, however, said what client get in return is invaluable.
“We waste money on so many things,” said Cosey. “We have to be willing to invest that same money into our children.”
For more information
For information on Edwards Educational Solutions, you can visit their website at https://www.edwardssuperiortutoringandtraining.com/.
Free tutoring opportunities
Milwaukee Public Library offers free online tutoring to Milwaukee residents with a library card.
New Hope Youth and Family Services offers tutoring for students ages 6 to 16 in it’s free after-school program.
Summit Education Association offers free tutoring to its members.