Kids on Course program helps students dream big

Kids on Course is a pilot program developed by the Zach Johnson Foundation in cooperation with the Cedar Rapids School District and the United Way of East Central Iowa.  This program started with the 2011-2012 school year and provides second graders in select schools within the Cedar Rapids School District, the opportunity to continue learning after school.

Kids on Course isn’t just a program for kids, it’s an opportunity for the whole family to become engaged.  The goal for Kids on Course is to improve school attendance rates, higher academic achievement, and to provide greater connections between the home and school.  Most importantly, we want these kids to gain confidence and to know that they can succeed at anything they choose to be when they grow up.


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Kids on Course students:

“My dream is to be an illustrator when I grow up.”

“My dream is to be a veterinarian.”

“My dream is to be a park ranger at Effigy Mounds.”

“My dream is to be a doctor and a veterinarian.”


“My dream is a racecar driver and a doctor.”

“My dream is to be a scientist when I grow up.”

“My dream is just to be a babysitter and handle little kids.”

Zach Johnson, Professional Golfer:

“My wife said it last night, I mean you know, I stood up there yesterday on the podium, and I’m like, you know, this why I’m from Cedar Rapids and that’s the truth.   We embrace that.  We thought you know what if we really want; one, every dollar goes to what we are trying to do with Kids on Course. Two, we want to embrace the community and really just kind of show them that this is their tournament and it’s not just mine.”


Jaimen Pangborn, Kids on Course:

“Zach Johnson grew up in Cedar Rapids and he and his wife, Kim, wanted to give back to the community to create a program called Kids on Course, which they work together with the Cedar Rapids School District and United Way to help kids ‘dream big’ and move forward in their future.”

Hannah White, Kids on Course:

“The heart of Kids on Course is really to not only just help kids achieve their dreams but to also realize what their dreams can be, and just planting those seeds in kids when they are young to really help them develop who they want to be, what they aspire to do when they’re  older.”

Jaimen Pangborn:

“This program works with both Harrison and Van Buren Elementary School.”

Hannah White:

“The schools are really different.  Harrison has around 240 students.  Van Buren has around 400 students enrolled.  Harrison is a flood affected school so about 60% of the students were directly impacted by the flood, and Van Buren is an English language learners’ school so there are a lot of kids coming from another country.”

Jaimen Pangborn:

“Some programming examples that we’ve done is our discover programming where they had five weeks of programming. One week they would learn about an experience such as we went to Kirkwood’s Iowa Equestrian Center.  The first week we learned about horses, horse vocabulary, such as saddle, bridle, halter, lead rope and then they got to do a craft related to horses.  And then the next week they actually got to go in meet horses, have exposure to horses, see horses being ridden, pet the horses, ask questions about horses, see where horses live so they got a piece of exposure.”

Kids on Course student:

“My favorite part is when I went to the horses and meet the horses.  I got to see what food do they eat.”

Jaimen Pangborn:

“Our first semester programming we did communities of clay where they built a clay community and worked together to design that and create houses and trees and bushes.”

Kids on Course student:

“My favorite thing about Kids on Course is building clay houses because actually clay houses, are actually safer houses because clay is fireproof.”

 Jaimen Pangborn:

“We also did multi cultural dance where they learned a hip hop dance that they got to perform, but then they also each week learned about a culture and that cultures’ dance style and they got to practice in that kind of dance.”


Kids on Course student:

“My favorite thing on Kids on Course was dance.  ‘Cause I got to learn a bunch of different cultures and I got a lot better at dancing.”

Hannah White:

“This is going to go a lot further than just something that they learned in elementary school.  It will really connect them to a future career that they might have.”


Tonika Isaac, Kids on Course parent:

“Zach Johnson is one of the best people I think could possibly be around right now.  Kids on Course has provided my family with a fun time, we go on a lot of field trips, a lot of encouragement and educational things and it’s an exciting program.  My daughter really likes it.  I hope that it really sticks around and it’s a program that kids need.  They need things to do and it’s inspirational and educational.”


Kids on Course student:

“I like Kids on Course because Miss Jaimen, she’s a great teacher about it and she teaches us not to give up on anything.”


Kids on Course student:

“My teacher just showed us to believe more in our art instead of just giving up if we make a mistake.  And in dance when Miss Vanessa taught us how to dance her dances, I was thinking about trying to give up but I knew that wasn’t the right thing.  Miss Vanessa said to never give up and thanks Vanessa and my art teacher Miss Mary for teaching me Kids on Course.”



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