Our Volunteer of the Month is Emily Secrest. Emily is currently a mentor and a site coordinator, and was formerly an intern with Everybody Wins! Iowa.
Each Thursday this summer, Emily is serving as a mentor at Monroe Elementary to a young girl named Serenity. The two have only been reading together for a couple of weeks, but Emily said that the two of them are already starting to really connect.
“I think being a mentor means being a stable figure in a child’s life,” Emily said. “Being that (consistent) person that comes and reads to them every week, even if you don’t think it’s much, it is.”
Having a reading program available during the summer months is important, Emily said, because a lot of kids won’t read over the summer unless they are asked to.
“This program helps to get them to read during the summer,” Emily said. “That’s what I like most about it.”
Emily is also a site coordinator at Willard Elementary on Mondays this summer, which puts her in charge of organizing the program at Willard, As a site coordinator, she does her best to keep the mentors and students in the program on track, answer any questions they may have, and provide a great overall reading experience for everyone.
This isn’t Emily’s first time in the site coordinator role, however. She was also a site coordinator at Walnut Street School this Spring when she first started her internship.
Once she adjusted to being a site coordinator at Walnut Street, Emily picked up several other small roles. She assisted other office staff with various tasks such as volunteer outreach and data entry.
“I think the biggest thing that I took away from my internship was how important community development is,” Emily said. “Even if you only have five hours a week to make a difference, it makes a difference. Just do it and go for it.”
Emily completed her internship with EWI this month and will continue to serve as site coordinator and a mentor. After her service with the program, Emily said that she does really see the benefits of reading with a child each week.
“I feel like it helps their confidence a lot more in reading,” Emily said. “That helps so much for them to have confidence to take up a book and read by themselves at home.”
Thank you so much for your service with Everybody Wins! Iowa, Emily!