December Mentor of the Month


Ellen and her mentee, Amari and her beanie baby octopus, Goochy

Our December Mentor of the Month is Ellen Koester. Ellen is a sophomore at Drake University and began mentoring her freshman year at the Central Presbyterian Church evening program.

This year she was able to continue her match with Amari, a 2nd grader.

On the first day of program, Amari arrived before Ellen and quickly came up to the site coordinator, Macy, asking “Where’s Ellen?” A question that continues each time Amari beats Ellen to program because she can’t wait to see her.

“The two have a wonderful bond that was created through reading together each week,” Macy said. “It’s great to see the different ways Ellen works with Amari to read different types of books. You can just tell how much fun they are having during program, and I’m so glad Everybody Wins! Iowa was able to bring them together for reading.”

Ellen says she likes coming to program because “Amari is super hilarious and is always inventing games to play while we read, or makes sure her beanie baby octopus, Goochy, is there to pay attention. I also enjoy the challenge at times to get her to read chapter books because I know she can read them, but she just has this mental block sometimes. To get her over the block I make silly competitions or we time ourselves to see how much we can read in a set amount of time. She’s so competitive that it really works.”

“I also like to come to program because it gets me off campus and I can give back to the community as well as meet other people,” Ellen said. “I’m from South Dakota, so it’s nice to have a way to get involved in my new community in Des Moines.”

Thank you for being an outstanding mentor, Ellen!

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