May Mentor of the Month


Our May Mentor of the Month is Anu Vaitheswaran. Anu has been reading with Everybody Wins! Iowa for an impressive 11 years!

Anu is a mentor at Capitol View Elementary and just finished up her 2nd year of reading with her latest mentee, Kimberly.

One part of reading with EWI that Anu really enjoys is the various ways that students learn through reading.

“I’ve been very impressed with how some children learn things from stories that I might not have seen at first glance or pick up aspects of a story that might not have been apparent to me,” Anu said. “And I think that’s an aspect of the reading program that has just made me very happy to be a part of it.”

Marty Katz, site coordinator for Capitol View Elementary, said that we are very privileged to have Anu as a mentor in our program.

“We are grateful that she is willing to devote her time and effort to our program particularly in light of her demanding responsibilities as an appellate court judge,” Marty said.

Anu has enjoyed her time reading with Kimberly and believes that Kimberly has also grown to enjoy their time spent reading together.

“I feel as if I’m less of a mentor than simply a friend that enjoys reading with another friend,” Anu said. “I enjoy seeing children light up when they like a story. I also enjoy seeing them try to read themselves, some of them are very proficient and really have fun reading on their own.”

Thank you, Anu, for being such a great mentor over the years!

SERVONS Volunteer Reward Program

Servons Only2

We are proud to announce that we have partnered with the SERVONS Volunteer Rewards Program. It’s as easy as SERVE, EARN, and SPEND.

You SERVE by volunteering with Everybody Wins! Iowa.
You EARN two servons worth $10 ($5 per servon) for every hour you volunteer.
You SPEND your servons on highly desirable products/services OR donate your servons back to EWI.

By donating your servons, you’re “giving” twice. Once by volunteering, and then again by donating your servons.

To sign up, go to, click on “Join”, then “Member” from the pull down menu, and fill out your profile to open your account. Then send an email to with your name, our Nonprofit’s name, and the total number of hours you volunteered with us or any other Nonprofit in Iowa to be credited the servons you have earned.

Remember, you can, in effect, “give” twice. Once by volunteering and again by donating your servons to us. Your generosity will help us further our organization’s mission!

National Volunteer Week

April 23-29 is National Volunteer Week, and we want to say THANK YOU for your service with Everybody Wins! Iowa. Thank you for volunteering with us, you have made a tremendous impact in our community!

During National Volunteer Week, we honor and celebrate all of our special volunteers who give their time and energy in service to EWI. Together, we are impacting children’s reading and enthusiasm for books!

As of March 31, we have served 630 students, and together with their mentors we have read 10,630 books, and 375,256 pages. Our volunteers have provided over 8,817 hours of service to Everybody Wins! Iowa!

We will be adding more programs to our summer schedule as well as next school year, so please stay connected with us on additional ways you can serve with us!

Congratulations Drew Gentsch, 2017 Excellence in Mentoring Award Recipient

Left to right: Chris Mason (Board President), Karen Ligas (Executive Director), Drew Gentsch


Established in 2009, the Excellence in Mentoring Awards gives Iowa Mentoring Partnership (IMP) certified programs the opportunity to recognize outstanding long-time youth mentors. Individuals selected have served as a mentor a minimum of two years and exemplify both the spirit and positive benefits of mentoring.

The Excellence in Mentoring Award is the most prestigious honor that a youth mentor in Iowa can receive. Drew Gentsch, a mentor with Everybody Wins! Iowa for over 13 years, was one of five mentors to receive the Excellence in Mentoring award at the Iowa State Capitol on Wednesday, April 26. He has mentored nine students and read with many more.

Congratulations, Drew and thank you for your service!

More photos below:






April Mentor of the Month

Jennifer Stuber with her student Mary

Our April Mentor of the Month honor goes to Jennifer Stuber. Jennifer currently reads at St. Theresa Catholic School and has been reading with Everybody Wins! Iowa for eight years.

Jennifer reads with Mary, a third grader, each week on Tuesdays. This school year was the start of their first year of reading together.

Mary and Jennifer enjoy reading a variety of books together, but Mary’s favorite kind of books to read are about animals.

“I think (being a mentor) means to establish a rapport with a child and be able to communicate with them and have the one-on-one conversation, as well as read to them and find out what they’re interested in,” Jennifer said.

Jennifer retired 3 years ago, but was involved with the program years before she retired. She previously read at Windsor Elementary before reading at St. Theresa Catholic.

“I’ve read with a lot of different children, mostly third and fourth and fifth graders,” Jennifer said. “When I read at Windsor, I read with a lot of different children of diverse ethnic backgrounds. That was interesting to get a different perspective of children. It is a very diverse school.”

Amber Juffer, Site Coordinator for St. Theresa Catholic School, had nothing but praise for Jennifer as a mentor.

“She’s really consistent,” Amber said. “Always happy to be here, and her kids, no matter who it is, she connects just like that with them. She’s the perfect mentor, really. All the kids like her that she’s read with.”

Jennifer said that she became involved with Everybody Wins! Iowa through a friend who read with the program and told her about the positive impact it can have on a child’s life.

“I’m an avid reader, so I think it’s really important for our children to read and read well, because I don’t think they can do most of their subjects unless they can read well,” Jennifer said. “We need to try to continue to make (the program) important and grow. It’s really important for people to understand what a difference it makes in a child’s life.”

Thank you for being a wonderful mentor, Jennifer!