Volunteers for Partners in Education honored

Published 10:00 am Saturday, April 29, 2023

Partners in Education (PIE) is dedicated to serving the Winchester community.

It does so regularly by collaborating with local businesses and organizations, ensuring employees get to tutor students within the school system.

PIE  recently hosted its Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast at Baker Intermediate School.

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“Our program just asks for our volunteers to go one hour a week,” said Greg Yates, Executive Director of Partners in Education. “We are making a difference in some of these young [people’s] lives.”

The event was well attended, with present individuals including Traditional Bank Vice President Mason Guy, Clark County Public Library Director Angela Turner, Clark County Clerk Michelle Turner and Winchester City Commissioner Kitty Strode.

Several staff members from Clark County Public Schools, including Baker Intermediate School Principal Josh Mounts, Chief Operations Officer Brandon Watkins, and Chief Academic Officer and Assistant Superintendent Kelly Fithen, also appeared.

Shortly after guests indulged in a breakfast that included eggs, sausage, pancakes, and more, Clark County Public Schools Superintendent Dustin Howard had a chance to speak.

“The biggest thing you can do is impact our next generation because they will be our community,” he said. “What I’m seeing is the student who may not always make the best decision going from hating school to, at least one day a week, knowing their mentor is going to be there. To see just a tiny glimpse…turn into wanting to come to school each and every day, that’s happened because of this program for a lot of our kids.”

Partners in Education include such organizations as Catalent, Clark Regional Medical Center, Central Bank, Winchester-Clark County Parks and Recreation, Mansea Metal, and more.

The organization also features programs such as BAM, or Be a Man, which is geared toward male students at Baker, Robert D. Campbell Junior High School, and Clark County Preschool.

Specifically, this program allows male volunteers to work with students for one hour monthly to provide examples of successful leadership.

“We’ve made sure we’ve had guest speakers come talk about how to save money and things like that, but not just how to get ahead or how to do better in life”, Yates said. “It’s worked out great.”

Each volunteer at the event was recognized for their contributions.

Notably, they gave out a Director of the Year and Volunteer of the Year Award for 2022-23.

Coos Ockens – currently serving as the Chair of the Board of Directors – was victorious in the former category.

“He’s very passionate,” Yates said. “He’s been a mentor.”

The Volunteer of the Year Award went to Erika Parks.

As described, Parks has gone beyond expectations to serve others.

“She loves doing it, so she actually goes twice a week,” Yates added.

As the school year nears a close, Partners in Education will look to add to its 51 total volunteers in preparation for another year.

However, there’s reason for optimism, with other businesses volunteering to get involved too.

“I’ve had a lot of that happen, and that’s what I’m hoping will happen over time,” Yates added. “I appreciate our community and a great turnout.”