BRIGHAM CITY — During National Volunteer Week, many Utah schools have been honoring those who help meet the needs of students and teachers. Discovery Elementary, a small school in northern Utah, has generated huge volunteer support it through an unconventional campaign.
The only thing more loved than pizza at Discovery is is the army of volunteer reading tutors. Monday, the school celebrated progress with both of those favorites.
"They come in struggling and now at the end of the year, they're above their grade level and doing great," said volunteer Cindy Griffin.
That's possible because of the 60 tutors that participate, a huge number for this small Brigham City community. It's enough that every child reading below grade level got consistent help.
"It's been the most amazing experience I've had in my life," said Denyehl Jones, coordinator for Read Today. "I have a hard time talking about it without coming to tears."
Jones recruits the tutors. Because the kids they needed to help were kids in her neighborhood, her mission was personal. She went to every civic group in town — the Chamber of Commerce, Kiwanis, Rotary, Daughters of the Utah Pioneers and others — making the pitch for help.
"We enjoy being in the community and we found out they needed volunteers down here at the school," said Griffin, who works for Members First Credit Union.
Community business partner Papa Murphy's brought in the pizza for another occasion to unite students and their tutors.
Mid-year scores showed 80 percent of the kids in the Read Today program will make the grade by the end of the year. And tutors donated nearly 1,000 hours of reading. Also important, students developed relationships with caring neighbors — both evidence of what can happen with a lot of passion and pepperoni.
"It's been a life-changing experience for a lot of these kids," Griffin said.
If your group would like to join the school tutoring movement, we'll help coordinate it. Go to readtoday.com for more information.