Mentor Moment: Drew Gentsch

Drew Gentsch, mentor

Year after year, each autumn since 2003, Drew Gentsch has shown up at Monroe Elementary School in Des Moines to read with students. What keeps him coming back? “It’s the kids,” he says. “It’s simple. You get to know each child, and they know you’ll be coming back regularly. Once you become a volunteer, it becomes the easiest and most enjoyable part of your week.”

Certainly, there have been small hurdles: “It was a challenge to keep Power Read on my calendar when my kids were growing up and I was busy with my law practice, but it was always worth the time,” Drew says. “Sometimes I’ve had to come up with reading games to keep my students interested. It is rewarding to find out what their interests are and foster their love of reading.”

Drew’s involvement hasn’t been limited to mentoring. He was on the original EWI Board of Directors and held all of the offices on the Executive Committee. He’s recruited others to mentor, including his mother. “I tell prospective mentors that it’s a great opportunity to work with students in our community who need a little help,” he says. “Every week you come in, see the big smiles, you read, and then you go.” He adds, “I’ve always felt it was a great and enriching experience and I hope the students have felt the same.”