According to Jaimie Atlas, Park City Institute donor relations and outreach manager, "Mega-Genius" was founded by the Institute, which was formerly known as the Park City Performing Arts Foundation. It is a free after-school tutoring program now in its fourth school year.
She said that the mission of the Park City Institute is to "entertain, educate and illuminate." The tutoring program and center works as part of that mission.
Students in every grade in Park City can stop by the tutoring center after school until 5:45 p.m., have a healthy snack and start working with volunteers who help with their homework.
Atlas said that the goal of the program is not only to get their homework done but to receive one-on-one attention from tutors, which she said helps to develop relationship and cognitive thinking skills as well.
It is literacy-focused program, but she said they are willing and wanting to help students in other subjects of study as well.
"Today I was working with a girl who needed help with physics, and I made sure to match her with a tutor who is particularly knowledgeable in the subject," Atlas said. "We will match up students with tutor in specific topics, especially if it is at higher levels like this girl who is a high school junior."
She said that volunteers range from adults around the community that want to give back through education to retired teachers from and visiting Park City that want to stay connected with students by continuing to educate them.
"Once they are with a tutor, they first work on homework, but then they may start working on an educational game," Atlas said. "We may just play Scrabble, but they are learning vocabulary words and using their math skills to add up points."
The program is for all students who want to simply stop by, no appointments or calling ahead necessary. She said that she encourages students to take their parents with them the first day to fill out paperwork, but after that, it is simply a free drop-in center.
"Students mostly use the bus to get here, and it's very easy for them," Atlas said. "They just come running down the steps, grab a snack and start working on their homework."
"Mega-Genius" works with the Park City Institute to tie in student outreach opportunities. There will be a workshop at the center on Thursday in cooperation with performers who will be acting in "Letters Home" on Saturday.
The show will feature performers acting out letters to and from active military members, so the workshop will focus on "the art of letter writing."
Atlas said they have also freshened up the front retail space in the shop where proceeds go toward things like programming, books, notebooks and healthy snacks for the students in the tutoring program.
There will also be "walking field trips" throughout the year to the Kimball Art Center, the Park City Museum and to Dolly's Bookstore to inspect the diverse selection of books. Atlas said that they want to incorporate the things available at their fingertips and that can be enjoyed within walking distance.
"We really want to just encourage people to come by and check it out, whether it is to shop at the retail store or just because they are curious after having walked by it 10 times, never going in and wondering what it was," Atlas said. "It is a really fun, quirky retail space and tutoring system, and we would just really love for people to come in and see what it's all about."
Mega-Genius Supply Store and IQ Headquarters