Superstar Spotlight

One-to-one matches are the hallmark of Everybody Wins! Iowa. One student, one mentor, every week of the school year. But of the 385 mentors who read during the past nine months, twenty-one took on added responsibilities. “These are mentors who want to be at more than one site, who go above and beyond, and they really show our mentors’ dedication to the program,” says volunteer manager Anna Sunstrom.

“There is something very special about a mentor who reads at multiple sites,” adds Stacy Pearce, program manager. “These mentors are often veterans who can help build a camaraderie among the mentors at each site. We can count on them to be there every week, and they are always willing to jump in and read with another student if a mentor is gone. And even though the load they carry is a little heavier, they almost always need nothing in return; they just do it because they really enjoy the time they get to spend with the students.”

Gaye Wiekerak says it was an easy decision to add a student at Lovejoy Elementary School when she heard that mentors were needed there because she’d already had wonderful experiences mentoring at Emerson Elementary School. “It’s not difficult to read two hours a week,” she says. “It’s a lot of fun. It’s extremely rewarding to see how happy and engaged the students are when they’re reading or listening to a book they like and how excited they get when they are given a book to take home.”

Sharon Gentsch, who reads at McKinley, South Union, and Stowe elementary schools, echoes those sentiments: “It’s not at all difficult to be involved and be a part of the lives of students at three schools. The kids look forward to the time and are so appreciative. There have been times over the years that I have been the only constant relationship in their lives. It’s all about the children knowing someone cares about them, makes time for them, and thinks they’re important.”

EWI extends its heartfelt thanks to the following mentors who read at multiple schools:

Marsha Braun: Cattell and Findley
Kay Colacino: Crestview, Greenwood, and Hubbell
Tracy Crew: Moore and South Union
Eldon Cross: Howe and Lovejoy
Gerald Damsky: Maple Grove and Monroe
Steve Evans: Northwest and Southeast
Bill Eddy: Carver and Edmunds
Susan Espeland: Perry and Maple Grove summer program
Sharon Gentsch: McKinley, South Union, and Stowe
Joan Haack: Northwest and Southeast
Jolene Harlow: Hubbell and Maple Grove summer program
John Hughes: Carver, Moulton, and South Union
Jodi Ingham: Hillside and Maple Grove summer program
Del Konopka: Northwest and Southeast
Sue McCaffrey: Northwest and Southeast
Cindy Moisan: Maple Grove and Monroe
Luke Roth: McKinley and Maple Grove summer program
Mandy Newton Rosenow: Maple Grove and Stowe
Joyce Sharp: Carver, Downtown School, and Hubbell
Deb Thie: Northwest and Southeast
Gaye Wiekerak: Lovejoy and Emerson