Do you know someone age 14 or older who is seeking volunteer opportunities? Consider becoming a reading mentor!
We have several program times available after school and in the evenings with our highest needs being at Moore Elementary and Hubbell Elementary.
A parental permission slip (if under age 18), background check, and reliable transportation are required. If interested, please contact Anna Sunstrom or Carolyne Nowell at (515) 242-8462 or email@example.com.
Did you know? You can sponsor a full year of reading and mentoring for a child for only 83 cents per day.
A recurring monthly donation of $25 helps us to reduce our costs and allow us to help even more children.
A small gift each month can help Everybody Wins! Iowa to spend more on improving outcomes for some of society’s most at risk kids and less on administrative costs. It is an easy and affordable way for supporters to make their contribution go further and provide the gift of literacy and books to more of Iowa’s children.
Our featured coordinator this month is Angi DeCapp. Angi is beginning her fourth year of coordinating with Everybody Wins! Iowa. She spent two years as a Site Coordinator and is entering her second year as a Regional Coordinator.
As one of three Regional Coordinators, Angi oversees several of our EWI programs and is the main contact for the Site Coordinators who organize these programs.
Angi was a mentor to a young boy for year before she began coordinating with EWI.
“It was good because my kids had gone off to school and it was nice to be able to sit down and read with a student,” Angi said. “The student that I had when I was a mentor was pretty shy and didn’t have a whole lot to say. But by the end of the school year, he really opened up to me.”
Angi said that her student’s reading ability had grown over the course of the school year. Her experience as a mentor is part of what led her to her choice to coordinate with EWI.
“I decided that I would like to volunteer more time having been in the program as a mentor, and coordinating in the town that I live in, I thought that I could basically fill the program,” Angi said. “Knowing people, having contacts, and having friends and people that I knew. I saw the opportunity to expand the program by becoming a coordinator and not just a mentor.”
Angi said that she has enjoyed her time serving as a mentor and a coordinator with EWI. She has also enjoyed meeting and working with all of the people.
“It’s awesome to work with the staff that I work with and the Norwalk school district,” Angi said.
Angi currently has mentors that have been reading with the same student for as long as she has been coordinating. She said it was nice to observe their growth over years and is looking forward to seeing even more growth this year.
Please extend a warm welcome to Christine Russell, our new Program Manager with Everybody Wins! Iowa!
We are pleased to announce that Christine Russell will be serving as our new Program Manager with Everybody Wins! Iowa!
Christine started as a Site Coordinator in August 2014 and last year served as both Site Coordinator at Carver, Terrace, and Monroe, as well as a new Regional Coordinator assisting with additional program responsibilities. She’s also served as Site Coordinator these past two summers and helped develop our many mentor resources such as the Mentor Literacy Guide and our fun READO activity. This past year, she’s posted our weekly online book of the week and the new feature, “Where in Des Moines is Books (our reading bear)?” Christine joined us after a successful elementary teaching career.
Christine will be full-time in the Everybody Wins! Iowa office and responsible for managing all of our staff, programs, training, and evaluations.
Please join us in congratulating Christine in her new role!
Our July 2017 Mentor of the Month is Sharon Gentsch. Sharon has been a mentor with Everybody Wins! Iowa for over five years now.
“I love to read with children, so I just thought that would be a good fit when I retire,” Sharon said.
This summer, Sharon has been reading at both the Lovejoy Elementary and River Woods Elementary programs on Thursdays.
Sharon said that being a mentor means you get a lot of perks from the children that you work with.
“You get very close to them,” Sharon said. “They’re like another set of grandchildren. They’re really a lot of fun.”
In Sharon’s personal experience, each child that you work with is very different and has different needs.
“It’s just fun to learn to get to know them, to see their faces light up when they walk in the room and you’re there,” Sharon said. “They’re just very, very special to me.”
Sharon’s son, Drew Gentsch, was a founding board member for Everybody Wins! Iowa and helped to get the program started. He was awarded the Excellence in Mentoring Award on April 26, 2017 for his volunteer service with Everybody Wins! Iowa.
Sharon worked as a site coordinator for the EWI program at River Woods and South Union Elementary from 2013-2016. The site coordinators work with school/site staff to ensure communication and coordination of the program, as well as work to guide the mentors and mentees to be successful. She still serves as a substitute when
One story that Sharon remembers from her experience coordinating was that while waiting on her kids to come to program one day, Sharon had a boy from the school, who wasn’t enrolled in the program, ask her why not everyone got to participate in it.
“I think it should be for everybody because after all, that way everybody would win,” the young boy said to Sharon.
Sharon admitted that the boy made a very good point about that. She explained to the boy that being able to participate in the program was a little more complicated than he was aware of, although we would love if everyone got to participate.
Nonetheless, Sharon said that from reading with a child each week, over time, you really do see their skills grow.
Thank you, Sharon, for being an exceptional mentor (and staff member) with us over the years!