Benjy Klostermann, a mentor at Hillside Elementary in West Des Moines, is the Mentor of the Month for May. He has been a mentor for two years, but has been involved with Education Leadership Initiative at United Way of Central Iowa for about ten years.
Benjy was raised by a single mother, but he had strong connections with his extended family as well. Benjy also comes from a family of readers. “During the summer, I was required to read at least 30 minutes a day, but usually got absorbed in my books and would read for an hour or two no problem!” he said.
Benjy’s student this year was Topher, who shared a sense of humor with Benjy. “Topher has definitely improved, though he was already a good reader to begin with,” Benjy said. He noted that Topher had a delightful curiosity and was fond of graphic novels.
Benjy was originally a substitute reader at Hillside Elementary, and there was no shortage of students to read with. He had already been involved with Education Leadership Initiative at United Way of Central Iowa, but their focus was on middle school students. “Much of the middle school challenge goes back to the progress on reading milestones at the Elementary level. It was important for me to help with a reading program like Everybody Wins!” he said.
Benjy has greatly enjoyed his time at EWI. “Just as mentors bring all different personalities to the table, the students also exhibit different personalities. There is a good fit for everyone who’s thinking about joining as a mentor.”
Thank you for your amazing service, Benjy!