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!
This month’s featured Site Coordinator is Marty Katz. He has been coordinating for Everybody Wins! Iowa since spring of this year.
Marty is currently coordinating at four of our summer programs, which are at River Woods Elementary, Lovejoy Elementary, Capitol View Elementary, and the Children and Families Urban Movement breakfast program.
After retiring last year, Marty saw a posting online for a Site Coordinator position with Everybody Wins! Iowa and thought that was something he could probably do, so he did.
“It’s wonderful, I think it’s one of the most important things if not the most important thing I’ve ever done in my life,” Marty said. “So, yes, I love doing it, I want to do it forever.”
Previously, Marty had been a mentor with us at Carver Elementary. He was a mentor to a boy from El Salvador for a few years.
“I like to think I made a difference in his life,” Marty said. “I had a very good relationship with him.”
There is one story in particular that Marty always likes to tell people about his experience being a mentor.
One day at program, Marty could tell that something was off with his student. After asking him repeatedly what was wrong, his mentee eventually revealed to Marty that he had been approached by a drug dealer earlier that day before coming to school.
“That just hit home to me how imperiled many of these children’s lives are,” Marty said. “And it just accentuated my commitment. And then I was able to report the problem and hopefully get it resolved.”
Marty always tells his mentors at his programs that there are two primary purposes to the EWI mentoring program.
“One is certainly to appreciate their reading skills and comprehension,” Marty said. “More importantly is the establishing of a relationship with a responsible adult on whom they can depend, at least for 45 minutes a week.”
Marty said that for many of the kids, that relationship that a child has with their mentor is the only such relationship in their lives.
“And that’s why I do this,” Marty said.
Thank you for all of the hard work and dedication you’ve put into the EWI program, Marty! Our program would not be the same without caring individuals like you.
Everybody Wins! Iowa, with thanksgiving and gratitude, would like you to join us for a Farewell Reception for our Program Manager, Macy McKendree! Macy’s moving to Youth Emergency Shelter and Services so please drop by and help us thank her for all she’s done for Everybody Wins! Iowa!
WHAT:Farewell Reception & EWI Open House(cake will be served)
WHEN: Friday, August 4, 2017 1:00 to 2:00 PM
WHERE: 901 Walnut Street, 6th Floor, Des Moines (metered parking available on 9th or 10th St.)
RSVP: Please RSVP your attendance by sending an e-mail to Karen at firstname.lastname@example.org by 8/1/17 (drop by as you’re able)