Mentor Moment: Rob Barron

Rob Barron, mentor

Rob Barron was a “pretty junior” staffer working for Sen. Tom Harkin in Des Moines in 2002 when the senator brought Everybody Wins! to Iowa. “I started reading at Monroe because it was important to my boss, but then I found that it mattered to my student and it mattered to me,” Rob says. By then, Rob had the bug and he read on Capitol Hill when he moved to Washington, DC, and then at Cattell and Moulton elementary schools when he returned to Des Moines. Except for the break during the pandemic, he’s been mentoring for 20 years. While Power Read still feels as fresh as it did in the beginning, Rob says the COVID-19 disruption is still posing challenges and presenting opportunities. “Engagement in kids’ lives isn’t back to where it should be,” he says. “We’re rather disconnected, but through mentoring we can rebuild ties and show kids that they matter in our community.”