Bluejay Readers = Bluejay Leaders and Power Read seek reading volunteers

Kiley Wellendorf Staff

Everybody Wins! Iowa, a non-profit organization, is teaming up with the Perry Public Library to bring a special one-day program to the Perry Elementary School: Bluejay Readers = Bluejay Leaders. The program encourages members from the community to volunteer a few hours during the morning of Friday, Dec. 1 to read with third grade students.

“The knowledge is becoming more prevalent that third grade is a key age,” said Volunteer and Primary Contact of the event, Kathy Miner.

This is the first-time duo Everybody Wins! Iowa and the Perry Public Library have teamed up for the 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. reading event.

“We’re going to match one community member and one student,” explained Christine Russell, Project Manager of Everybody Wins! Iowa.

There is an estimated 107 third-grade students which means around 100 volunteers are needed for the morning event.

Miner encourages those interested in reading during the Dec. 1 event to seek out beforehand.

“It’s going to breach the normal security of the school because they’ll be so many people,” Miner commented.

At the start of the day, volunteers will all gather in the Perry Elementary School Library beginning at 8:30 a.m. to go over information as well as receive a packet for each third grade student.

Books used during the day are donated from United Way, an agency that coincides with the Everybody Wins organization.

“It has some good information about nutrition and health eating and lifestyle to take home,” Miner said. “They’ll keep the book and it’s kind of a fun book about why we burp and why we sneeze.”

The event provides volunteers with a sample of the current weekly program occurring between Everybody Wins! Iowa and the Perry Elementary School.

The mentoring program, Power Read, began its second year at Perry Elementary this year, where volunteers donate a portion of their time each week to reading with students.

Everybody Wins! Iowa was also a Bock Foundation recipient, receiving $1,500 dollars towards the Perry Elementary Power Read program for the 2017-18 school year.

“Perry just started last year, [and] the plan is that we’re reading with the same students,” Miner explained. “This year we picked up enough mentors that we’re reading with second grade.”

Students involved in the program are chosen by teachers and get the chance to sit down with volunteers on both Thursday and Friday during the lunch hour to eat and read.

“We’re not teaching them to read or correcting their reading, we’re just there to help see that reading can be fun,” Miner said.

All of the volunteers from the first year have continued onto this year, Miner says.

“It would be ideally if we could have first grade through fifth grade depending on how many mentors we can get.”

The program is beneficial to both mentors and readers, Miner describes.

“They look forward to seeing each other and it’s a really rewarding program,” Miner said. “They benefit and the school benefits without costing anything.”

Everybody Wins! Iowa was also a Bock Foundation recipient, receiving $1,500 dollars towards Perry Elementary Power Read program 2017-18 school year.

To sign up to be a volunteer reader on Dec. 1, email “perry@everybodywinsiowa.org,” or contact Kathy Miner: 465-2441, or the Perry Elementary School: 465-5656.

To become a Power Read volunteer for Perry, sign-up at https://everybodywinsiowa.org/get-involved/