It was back when she was in high back school that Claire Hueg discovered she loved serving as a reading mentor to elementary students. This passion lead her to eventually come to be the Everybody Wins! Iowa site coordinator at King Elementary School and be EWI’s featured coordinator for December 2017.
Originally from the small farm-town of Hammond, Wisconsin, Claire came to Des Moines in the fall of 2015 to attend school at Drake University. It was through Drake’s service learning program that Claire learned about Everybody Wins! Iowa.
“Everybody Wins! Iowa really stood out to me as a great way to get involved because I loved reading as a kid and I had parents who really encouraged reading,” Claire said. “I think that’s contributed a lot to where I am today.”
Claire was passionate about the mission of Everybody Wins! Iowa and became the site coordinator at King Elementary in January 2017. However, she will not be able to return to her position in the spring semester as she has plans to study abroad in Berlin, Germany.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” Claire said. “I’m ready for all of the cappuccinos and croissants and great tourist pictures.”
Although she is leaving, Claire loved the time she spent as a site coordinator. It was a high-energy position, but Claire was up to the challenge.
“It’s been really engaging to be able to figure out different ways to use that energy,” Claire said. “We will sometimes act out the reading or draw it in our journals and it’s really fun to see kids figure out a way to make reading exciting for them.”
One high-energy student in particular really loved music and would sometimes beatbox and drum on the table, which sometimes caused a distraction to the other kids trying to read. But Claire was able to work with his mentor to figure out a way to get him more engaged.
“We were able to find books with a lot of rhyming and rhythm to them and he actually got to start to recognize how musical the written word can be,” Claire said. “He was able to incorporate his passion for music in a constructive way into the reading and he started to really love coming to program.”
Claire worked with Jan Fitzsimons, one of EWI’s three regional coordinators, anytime she needed programmatic assistance or guidance. Jan was thankful to have had Claire as a site coordinator in her region.
“She knew just what books to recommend,” Jan said. “She was always on point for her mentors as well as her students. And we’re going to miss her desperately.”
Claire added that it’s important for people to know that this program can be just as rewarding for the mentors and site coordinators as it is for the students.
“I’ve learned just how fun and goofy learning can be from these kids,” Claire said. “And I think that it’s important for us as adults to remember the joy that comes with it and to try to incorporate that into every day.”
Thank you for everything you’ve done for Everybody Wins! Iowa, Claire. Best of luck with your future endeavors!