Gazette opinion: Volunteers with class; School-business partnerships thrive

2013-05-03T00:10:00Z Gazette opinion: Volunteers with class; School-business partnerships thrive The Billings Gazette
May 03, 2013 12:10 am

Hundreds of volunteers from 40 local businesses and organizations have been going to school. Both the volunteers and the students have learned a lot.

Earlier this week, Partners in Education, a project of the Education Foundation for Billings Public Schools, celebrated the many ways business/community partners are working for their schools. Here’s just a few snapshots of volunteerism shared by Krista Hertz, foundation director:

- For 30 years, the Home Builders Association has partnered with the Career Center to build a house. Many Billings construction business owners are graduates of this program.

- Billings Clinic hosts a career day for McKinley students.

- GE employees volunteer weekly at Washington to help kids improve their reading.

- Phillips 66 sponsors class visits to Audubon Conservation Center.

- CTA Architects Engineers employees tutor Newman students and deliver Christmas gifts to needy students.

- ExxonMobil employees host a career day at Bench.

- St. Vincent Healthcare invested in playground equipment at Broadwater.

- Valley Federal Credit Union volunteers serve as school spelling bee judges and field trip chaperones.

Jason Moothart of CenturyLink described how volunteers get hooked on working with Washington students and seeing how much they appreciate adult attention.

“You continue to volunteer because nine times out of 10, you’re going to get more out of it than the kids,” he said.

After years of volunteering at Boulder, Heidi Knudson of Altana Federal Credit Union says she is honored when students recognize her as “the credit union lady.” The “warm fuzzies” from helping students are “totally worth leaving that project on my desk.”

The Partners in Education and all their volunteers are commended. Their time and resources are making a positive difference for elementary, middle school and high school students.

But there’s plenty of opportunity for more volunteers. Want to know more about Partners in Education?

Contact Julie Whitworth or Krista Hertz at 245-4133 or whitworthj@billingsschools.org or hertzk@billingsschools.org.

Now’s a good time to volunteer to help in the new school year this fall.

Copyright 2014 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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