Help wanted at Stewart
Sherry Ives has volunteered at Stewart Elementary School for four years. She said she couldn’t wait to go back this year.
“It’s such a joy to walk into the classroom and they come over and give you a big hug,” Ives said. “The kids are wonderful and appreciate the extra help.”
Ives goes to the school every morning. She sits one to one with children and helps them with their reading or with number flashcards in Barbara Donkersloot’s kindergarten classroom.
“I like the idea that I can hopefully help some of the kids that need help,” Ives said.
Jan Stiles started volunteering at Stewart Elementary last January. She encourages others to volunteer at the school.
“Just go and do it,” Stiles said. “The best thing about volunteering is walking away and feeling like you really connected with the child.”
Like Ives, Stiles also enjoyed working with the students.
“Telling them they did a good job is so rewarding,” Stiles said. “Just seeing the progress they’ve made and having them ask for you as you walk into the room is so much fun.”
Stewart Elementary School Volunteer Coordinator Kelsey Sievers said without the volunteers the students wouldn’t receive as much help as they get from the volunteers.
“One of the biggest things we have our volunteers do is work either one on one or in small groups,” Sievers said. “The teachers thought this was a really helpful way to utilize their time. It just kind of gives an extra boost in the math or reading that they could use help with.”
Volunteers can read to the students or do flash card work with them, Sievers said. Sometimes the teachers will have a specific game for them to play with the children.
“It’s just kind of whatever they need help with,” Sievers said.
Stewart Elementary School principal Adam Miller said having the volunteers assistance has helped tremendously.
“I can’t sing their praises enough,” Miller said. “We greatly appreciate them at Stewart, more than they know. They do so much for our kids here.”
The teachers aren’t the only ones who appreciate the volunteers, Miller said.
“Our kids really enjoy having volunteers and creating that relationship with them,” he said. “They look forward to seeing them, which really helps our kids feel that much more connected to Stewart.”
Anyone over the age of 18 could volunteer, Sievers said. The only requirement is the volunteer fill out a background check before volunteering at the school. Once the background check is done, the volunteer will receive a call and assigned to a classroom to volunteer in. Volunteers will begin working at the school the second week of September, Sievers said.