PIE honors its volunteers

Jess Toews racked up 359 volunteers hours in Clark County Public Schools this school year, and nearly every day she joined a new student for lunch.

It was that and more that earned Toews the 2019 Partners in Education Volunteer of the Year award. Forrest Hahn, vice chair of the PIE board of directors, presented the award at the annual PIE Volunteer Appreciation breakfast Wednesday at Baker Intermediate School.

PIE Executive Director Greg Yates also presented the 2019 PIE Director of the Year award to Roger Croucher, senior research and development project manager at Catalent Pharma Solutions. Yates said Croucher had set an excellent example for leading volunteer teams as Catalent bussed students to the plant at the beginning of the year for mentors to meet with their mentees and tour the job site.

Croucher has also recruited many Catalent employees to volunteer, bringing an initial team of seven to more than 40 volunteers.

Bill Farmer, the retiring CEO of the United Way of the Bluegrass, was the guest speaker at the breakfast. United Way funds many programs at PIE.

“We’ve been in this community for 95 years,” Farmer said in his speech. “And the real important issue that I want you to take from this is that we’re committed to this community. We’re committed to education. We’re committed to you.”

Farmer offered the following statistics:

— Every 11 seconds, a high school student drops out.

— Every 19 seconds, a child is arrested.

— Every 19 seconds, a baby is born to an unmarried mother.

— Every 20 seconds, a public school student is corporally punished.

— Every 32 seconds, a baby is born into poverty.

— Every 41 seconds, a child is confirmed as abused or neglected.

— Every 42 seconds, a baby is born without health insurance.

— Every four minutes, a child is arrested for a drug offense.

— Every seven minutes, a child is arrested for a violent crime.

— Every 18 minutes, the baby dies before their first birthday.

Farmer said these statistics can change.

“The way that you will make a difference and change this is to volunteer,” Farmer said.