Our March mentor of the month is Bill Wyer. Bill is currently in his 3rd year of reading with Everybody Wins! Iowa.
Each Monday, Bill reads to 3 different students in each of the 3 programs over lunch at South Union Elementary School.
Bill and one of his students, Jazlin, are currently in their 3rd year of reading together, which is the longest he has been with any of his students. This year will be the pair’s final year together as Jazlin will be entering 6th grade next year.
“When we first started and to see her progress, change, and feel more confident, and it just makes me feel good that maybe I had just a little bit of a part in that,” Bill said.”I enjoy just listening to her when we share reading back and forth, and she’s developed a real sense of not just reading words, but of trying to be part of the story.”
Bill started reading with Everybody Wins! Iowa because he wanted to get more involved with volunteering in his community, which was a vision that he and his late wife shared.
“It was a goal of my wife and I when we retired, we were going to try to do something on a volunteer basis,” Bill said. “And we wanted to do it together, but I lost her to cancer in 2006. I feel like I’m kind of fulfilling a vision that we had then.”
Bill’s involvement with Everybody Wins! Iowa originally came from his involvement with the South Park Neighborhood Association. At one of their meetings a few years ago, an Everybody Wins! Iowa representative came to speak with the group about the program, and Bill felt that it was the perfect fit.
“It was like it was kind of a meant-to-be situation where it was something I had in the back of my mind that I wanted to do,” Bill said. “And so it was just like ‘okay this is it, this is the sign, this is meant to be.’ And so I did an inquiry and volunteered then.”
Becky Evans, site coordinator for South Union Elementary School, says that Bill is very reliable and has never missed a reading session for as long she has coordinated the program.
“He seems to really enjoy mentoring and his matches seem to really enjoy him,” Becky said. “He’s a great guy!”
One thing that Bill really enjoys with the program is seeing the growth of his mentees.
“I think it’s just that aspect to take a meeting with a kid and then seeing them kind of grow in confidence and develop a love for reading,” Bill said. “I think that’s what I get out of it is just the sense of seeing them get a feel for reading and everything. It makes me feel good to be part of that.”
Thank you for being such an outstanding mentor, Bill!