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PARK CITY — Santa made a spot check at a Park City elementary right before students were dismissed for the holiday break.
He found no Christmas emergency at McPolin Elementary. Kids are studying hard, and Santa learned they're getting help from neighboring businesses.
"They get to sit down and read. They're eager to learn. It's been an excellent experience," said Smiths Food and Drug volunteer Sasha Lugo.
Another volunteer, Barbara Bach from Newcomers, said, "I hear the most positive comments about the students. They're bright. They want to learn."
"We're shaping the future of our children and there's not enough people to help," said Sheila Fox, another volunteer from Smith's.
So after her shift at the grocery store, she and several colleagues go to the school to read with students.
"It's just people that have a passion for kids, have a passion for giving back. I don't think there's a better program," said Abbi Kimball from Smith's.
Educators and Santa praised that commitment because of the message it sends to students.
Fifth grader Connor gets the message, "That they want kids to be good readers, I guess."
AmeriCorps coordinator Amber Siddoway said, "These children are going to be our future and we need to help them in any way we can."
"It helps them with their reading," observed Principal Greg Proffit. "And, it helps them connect with the community. They see that it's valued beyond just what's in school."
McPolin and other Park City schools take part in KSL's Read Today AmeriCorps program. It's part of an effort to raise reading scores statewide through a grassroots tutoring movement.
Read Today Recruiter Mitch McBride said, "This is more than just businesses being in the community and good social responsibility. This is business leaders realizing there is a community wide problem and they can step up to the plate and make something happen."
The school managed to get enough volunteers that World Wide books is donating 1,000 books for students to take home.