Minnesota Reading Corps & Minnesota Math Corps Blog

Stories of Service During COVID-19

When Minnesota schools closed in response to the COVID-19 crisis, our members stepped up. Over the last few weeks, reading and math tutors have pivoted, shifting their service from tutoring in schools to supporting the community and students in new ways. We’ve collected some inspiring stories of service – take a look!

Amber Hopper
Lincoln Elementary, Ivanhoe

Amber did not hesitate to lend a hand to her school community. She ensured the transition to distance learning went smoothly by setting up Chromebooks for students and distributing them to families. Amber also helps prepare and deliver meals to families as part of the free meal program.

“I am sad that I don’t get to spend my one-on-one time with my students every day, but this provides me an opportunity to serve them in another way and still see their smiling faces from a distance!”

Anna Boguszewski, Vanessa Manzanares, Annmarie Gibbs and Leia Chally
Parkview Center School, Como Park Elementary, Valley Crossing Elementary and Harambee Elementary School

This foursome volunteered to help package meals at The Sheridan Story, a local nonprofit that fights hunger in the community by fill the gaps to food access. By partnering with several Minnesota hunger-relief organizations, The Sheridan Story has successfully distributed food across 31 school districts in Minnesota and Western Wisconsin on a weekly basis during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Annmarie Gibbs and Tiffany Anderson
Valley Crossing Elementary, Woodbury

In order to support their students from a distance, Annmarie and Tiffany got creative. The two of them created encouraging messages on colorful paper, took photos and shared them with their internal coach. Those photos were then emailed to the student’s families so they would know their tutors are thinking of them.  

Chrysees Forbord and Joann Schliep
Benson VPK, Benson

Following the school closure, Chrysees and Joann rolled up their sleeves and assisted in sanitizing and packing up learning materials for the school year. While they wish they were tutoring students in-person, they are happy to continue supporting Benson VPK with the transition to distance learning.  

Karen Anderson
Pearson Elementary, Wheaton

Immediately after her site closed, Karen volunteered to help out. She sanitized lockers and supported teachers in making copies and putting together distance learning materials for students.

“I’m staying involved because these children mean a lot to me, as well as the staff. They are like a second family to me and I would do anything to help them out during this trying time.”

Robin Gleb
Normandale Hills Elementary, Bloomington

Robin has remained active in her school community by assembling distance learning packets, supporting teachers with materials that are needed for lesson plans, sanitizing the school’s Reading Corps space and Media Center, handing out jump ropes to encourage physical activity and distributing food from Sheridan Story. Robin is also hoping to help with school lunch distribution and frontline worker child care.

“I have decided to stay involved for multiple reasons. As a community, we are all in this together and need to pull together during this tough time. I also think that the kids need to know that even during this time, the adults in their lives are still here for them.”

Sylvia Jimenez and Sandra Speh
Lakeview Elementary, Cottonwood

Sylvia and Sandra have been busy distributing lunches and breakfast for students of both the elementary and high school. They have also helped the Family and Consumer Sciences teacher make recipe packages for students to take home for distance learning. Their support has made a big difference at Lakeview Elementary!

Vicky Semelhack
Mora Elementary, Mora

Vicky is a second-year tutor who has found a new way to support others during the COVID-19 crisis. As a retired nurse, she is deeply concerned about the medical community and has started sewing face masks. Vicky will be donating the masks to Welia Health in Mora, Minnesota. “I also want to be part of the community outreach that will be offering a mask to anyone who wants one.”

You can learn more about the homemade mask drive on the Weila Health website.

At this time, all tutors are encouraged to make their health and the health of others the top priority. Please follow CDC recommendations and comply with all local and state measures to limit the spread of COVID-19. If you have questions about your service during COVID-19, please visit servetogrow.org/covid19 and reach out to your program manager with any questions or concerns. 

As always, if you have a story you’d like to share, we’d love to hear from you! Email us at suzanne.pagel@servetogrow.org

Suzanne PagelStories of Service During COVID-19