Volunteer/match manager Anna Sunstrom sometimes compares herself to Glinda the Good Witch in The Wizard of Oz. “Volunteers don’t often see me, but they should know I’m there,” she says. Sunstrom, who first got involved with EWI as a mentor when she was a student at Grand View University, receives mentor applications and conducts background checks and orientations before sending new mentors to site coordinators to be matched with students. She also assists the organization with special events and manages data. Sunstrom occasionally ventures into the schools that EWI serves, and calls that the best part of her job: “I love seeing the matches work together. I like seeing the relationships form.”
Sunstrom is currently working on a master’s degree in mental health counseling and is bringing elements of social emotional learning into the Power Read program. “Even if students have great mental health, they get a huge boost from having a mentor, and the reading and mentoring work together to boost each other and help our students,” she says.