Our February Mentor of the Month is Cooper Hubbell. Cooper reads at Walnut Street School and is currently in his 6th year of reading with Everybody Wins! Iowa.
Cooper was first introduced to Everybody Wins! Iowa through his wife, who was introduced to the program through a group called 100 Women Who Care, an organization dedicated to supporting local charities in Des Moines.
“I was looking for a way to get involved in the community and give back a little bit, and this seemed like a good program just because of my personality,” Cooper said.
Cooper says that in terms of personality, he considers himself to be more of introvert. However, he also says he thrives when engaging with people.
“I think anyone that’s of that personality, this is the perfect opportunity to volunteer,” Cooper said.
This year is Cooper’s first year of reading with his current mentee, Denver, who is a fourth grader. This is Denver’s third year in the program.
Although Denver is a high-energy student, Cooper has done a great job keeping him immersed in the world of reading each week according to Anna Sunstrom, our Volunteer Outreach Manager (formerly Walnut Street School Coordinator).
“Cooper is an awesome mentor because he is able to keep Denver engaged when he reads with him each week,” Anna said. “The boys on Wednesdays request him when their mentors are gone and he is always willing to let them read with him and his mentee. He is always very helpful and welcoming.”
Cooper said that he has noticed a positive trend in Denver’s reading ability during this past school year.
“I don’t think Denver would be the person he is today without the program,” Cooper said. “I think his reading ability has improved, and he’s been more willing to read to me as we’ve gone through the last semester.”
Being a mentor is also more than just reading to your student, Cooper said. It also means being a friend.
“(Being a mentor) means being someone who listens, someone who helps to make your students day a little better any way you can,” Cooper said. “Whether that’s discussion or just reading, telling stories, talking about interests, or talking about jokes. So really just being a good friend. Someone who listens, someone who engages, someone who’s concerned about the student’s well-being.”
Thank you for being an awesome mentor, Cooper!