In 2007, current Everybody Wins! Iowa Board President Matt Grohe was looking for volunteer opportunities when he discovered EWI through VolunteerMatch. EWI seemed to be a good fit for him due to how important reading aloud is for a child’s development.
Matt initially started mentoring at Windsor Elementary, where he went to elementary school. This past school year, he read at Greenwood Elementary, where he had a great relationship with his 3rd grade student.
“This student has a low reading level, more reserved, and intimidated by reading,” Matt said.
During program, Matt likes to ask students what they read that week.
“At first, he said he never read at home,” Matt said. “After a few sessions, he began telling me about what he read at home.”
After a couple months, his student began to pick out books that were more difficult to read.
“Instead of sounding everything out, he looked at the word completely and could put chunks of words together,” Matt said. “Also, he became more fluent when reading aloud and helped others when they read with other students.”
Over the past decade, Matt estimates he’s read with fifteen different kids. He really saw Everybody Wins! Iowa’s mission in action when one student gave his giveaway book to his sister, who have it to their brother to enjoy once she was finished reading it.
Matt decided to become Board President because he saw an opportunity for professional growth and to contribute to a great organization. He’s been a great leader for the organization according to staff members.
“He has a drive to see the organization succeed by participating in fundraising and brand awareness effort,” Anna Sunstrom, EWI Volunteer Manager, said.
“I admire his go-getter attitude and his drive to help our organization reach its full potential,” Jordan Mains, EWI Marketing & Development Coordinator said. “He works non-stop to ensure that we keep moving forward and never backward.”
Matt defines EWI as, “a community of people dedicated to improving the futures of children and their development.” He loves EWI because of the individualization the organization gives to the children.
“Reading in front of a group puts pressure on a child, especially if they’re already struggling,” Matt said. “Everybody Wins! is very relaxed, not putting the child on the spot, and doesn’t force a child into reading or require instruction. It’s just a friend helping another with something they are struggling with. I love getting to know each child as an individual.”
Thank you, Matt, for everything you’ve contributed to EWI over these past 11 years.