December Coordinator Feature

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Claire Hueg, EWI Coordinator of the Month

It was back when she was in high back school that Claire Hueg discovered she loved serving as a reading mentor to elementary students. This passion lead her to eventually come to be the Everybody Wins! Iowa site coordinator at King Elementary School and be EWI’s featured coordinator for December 2017.

Originally from the small farm-town of Hammond, Wisconsin, Claire came to Des Moines in the fall of 2015 to attend school at Drake University. It was through Drake’s service learning program that Claire learned about Everybody Wins! Iowa.

“Everybody Wins! Iowa really stood out to me as a great way to get involved because I loved reading as a kid and I had parents who really encouraged reading,” Claire said. “I think that’s contributed a lot to where I am today.”

Claire was passionate about the mission of Everybody Wins! Iowa and became the site coordinator at King Elementary in January 2017. However, she will not be able to return to her position in the spring semester as she has plans to study abroad in Berlin, Germany.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” Claire said. “I’m ready for all of the cappuccinos and croissants and great tourist pictures.”

Although she is leaving, Claire loved the time she spent as a site coordinator. It was a high-energy position, but Claire was up to the challenge.

“It’s been really engaging to be able to figure out different ways to use that energy,” Claire said. “We will sometimes act out the reading or draw it in our journals and it’s really fun to see kids figure out a way to make reading exciting for them.”

One high-energy student in particular really loved music and would sometimes beatbox and drum on the table, which sometimes caused a distraction to the other kids trying to read. But Claire was able to work with his mentor to figure out a way to get him more engaged.

“We were able to find books with a lot of rhyming and rhythm to them and he actually got to start to recognize how musical the written word can be,” Claire said. “He was able to incorporate his passion for music in a constructive way into the reading and he started to really love coming to program.”

Claire worked with Jan Fitzsimons, one of EWI’s three regional coordinators, anytime she needed programmatic assistance or guidance. Jan was thankful to have had Claire as a site coordinator in her region.

“She knew just what books to recommend,” Jan said. “She was always on point for her mentors as well as her students. And we’re going to miss her desperately.”

Claire added that it’s important for people to know that this program can be just as rewarding for the mentors and site coordinators as it is for the students.

“I’ve learned just how fun and goofy learning can be from these kids,” Claire said. “And I think that it’s important for us as adults to remember the joy that comes with it and to try to incorporate that into every day.”

Thank you for everything you’ve done for Everybody Wins! Iowa, Claire. Best of luck with your future endeavors!

December Mentor of the Month

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Demetrius Watson, December Mentor of the Month

Demetrius Watson has only been a mentor with Everybody Wins! Iowa since September of this year, but his impact that he’s made on the program has been large enough for him to be named our December mentor of the month.

Not long ago, Demetrius was reading through the volunteer opportunities section of the Des Moines Register. He had read through the section on a few different occasions before he decided that he wanted to volunteer as a reading mentor.

“It’s like giving back in a way,” Demetrius said. “It’s a good program for younger children.”

Demetrius had various mentor-like figures in his life that read to him while he was growing up, so he understands the importance of reading aloud to young minds. That’s why each Friday, Demetrius visits King Elementary School to read to Craig, a second grader, over the lunch hour.

In the short time that the pair has been reading together, Craig has demonstrated growth in his reading abilities as well as his confidence levels.

“I really have loved to see the progress that they have made together,” Claire Hueg, Site Coordinator for King Elementary, said.

Demetrius said that Craig seems to be more courageous when it comes to reading now compared to when they had first started reading together.

“He’s a lot more open,” Demetrius said. “In the beginning, I would just read to him, and he wouldn’t say anything. Now, he’s taking stabs at reading and we’re switching page by page. He seems a little more motivated to face the challenge of reading.”

Craig has already made great progress and the time he and Demetrius spend together each week appears to be beneficial. Demetrius looks forward to seeing how Craig continues to improve.

“It’s a good program and a good initiative in general,” Demetrius said.

Thanks for being a great mentor with us, Demetrius!

New Team Member Announcement

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Jordan Mains, Communications/Marketing/Development Coordinator for Everybody Wins! Iowa

We are excited that say that Jordan Mains will be joining our team as our new Communications/Marketing/Development Coordinator! Jordan was formerly our IDPH AmeriCorps Mentoring Advocate and served one quarter-time and one full-time term with us through AmeriCorps and the Iowa Department of Public Health.

In the past, Jordan has helped us with our marketing, social media, managing our website, managing our donor database, and much more. He will resume these duties going forward and also will take on some new tasks.

Welcome to the team, Jordan. We are glad to have you!

Now Hiring: Site Coordinators at Crestview School of Inquiry and Stowe Elementary

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If you’re looking for an awesome part-time opportunity to help children in your community, look no further! Everybody Wins! Iowa is currently hiring site coordinators to assist with organizing our programs. We are hiring for the following programs and times:

  • Crestview School of Inquiry (8355 Franklin Ave, Clive) – Tuesdays at 11:00-12:00PM
  • Stowe Elementary School (1411 E 33rd St, Des Moines) – Wednesdays at 2:30-3:30PM

Check out the job description here. To apply, please send your resume and cover letter to Karen at statedirector@everybodywinsiowa.org.

Join us at our Barnes & Noble Holiday Book Event on Sat. Dec. 9

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Barnes & Noble Holiday Book Event
Saturday December 9
10:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Come celebrate the holidays with Everybody Wins! Iowa at our holiday event at Barnes & Noble in West Des Moines!

To support our programs, just mention Everybody Wins! Iowa at checkout and a portion of your purchase will be donated to help support our program. We will also be having a book drive, provide gift wrapping services for your purchases, and more. Santa will be joining us from 11:30-1:30.

If you’re unable to join us for this event, you can still support EWI by placing an online order at barnesandnoble.com. Use event code #12178943 for orders placed between December 8-20.