PIE honors volunteers

In honor of National Volunteer Week, Partners in Education (PIE) recognized its 119 volunteers with a breakfast Wednesday morning.

Greg Yates, executive director of PIE, said last year, the organization had 58 volunteers, which has nearly doubled this year.

PIE formed in 2006 as a way to facilitate partnerships between schools and local businesses and organizations. Once matched, companies provide schools with employees who serve as mentor-tutors and money for educational programs principals request to aid the education process in their school.

Volunteers from the partner organizations can mentor, tutor, do reading activities, serve as a judge in an academic competition or chaperone a field trip, among other things.

Volunteers can also agree to be an Expert For Education speaker, donate materials, co-sponsor a school-wide activity, sponsor an awards banquet for families or provide a tour of their workplace.

PIE is also working on implementing a new program called “Be a Man.” The program would employ male volunteers to read to children in the schools as a way to get more men involved. He said the pilot program would begin next school year in the preschool and Baker Intermediate School.

Yates also recognized the volunteer of the year, Russ Morrison.

“This person, everything he does is for the students,” Yates said.

Morrison is a member of Kiwanis International and the Kiwanis Club of Winchester. He has been instrumental in the Bringing Up Grades (BUG) program since 2013, Yates said.

BUG is a program of Kiwanis International for third graders to provide recognition to students who raise their grades into an acceptable range and maintain or continue to boost it from one grading period to the next, according to PIE’s website.

Morrison also serves on PIE’s board of directors and has been volunteering since his retirement.

Morrison said he likes to focus on implementing leadership and service clubs in schools.

“It’s needed,” he said about his volunteer work. “… We can help these kids and maybe keep them on the straight and narrow. That’s what we’re doing.”

About Lashana Harney

Lashana Harney is a reporter for The Winchester Sun. Her beats include schools and education, business and commerce, Winchester Municipal Utilities and other news. To contact her, email lashana.harney@winchestersun.com or call 859-759-0015.

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