Archive for Wednesday, November 12, 2003

School adoption

BU fraternity members work one on one with Baldwin students

November 12, 2003

Gerrad Speer watches as Jon Pratt attempts to spell football with small, lettered cardboard squares, pointing out the correct letter when the first grader hesitates in the middle of the word.

Just down the hall of Marion Springs Elementary School, Pat Mahoney helps second grader Aubrey Baughan work his way through a picture book before starting another.

Helping MSES students with their school work isn't new to Speer or Mahoney -- or any of the other Delta Tau Delta members for that matter. The Baker University fraternity has spent the past few months volunteering at the school, helping both students and teachers when it's needed.

"I love it," Speer said. "We get to work with the little kids. For the time we're out here, I have a great time."

Zach Good, the fraternity's philanthropy chairman, said Delta Tau Delta's national philanthropic event is adopting a school. The Baker fraternity has volunteered at Baldwin Elementary School in previous years, but this year marks the first at MSES.

Good said the fraternity members are at the school four days a week. Each member spends one day a week for about an hour at the school working with students one on one or in small groups and assisting teachers.

"We do anything," he said. "We're here to help out."

The men do everything with the students from reading books and working on computer assignments to playing with them during gym class and at recess.

Fifth grader Ethan Horne said he gets help from them with his math and spelling, but his favorite is playing with them at recess.

"We get to shoot baskets," he said.

Fourth grader Nicole Ritter said she likes it when she gets help from them on reading.

Chris Kile, MSES fourth and fifth grade teacher, said the students benefit from the fraternity members' visits.

"I think the kids get a lot more one on one attention," Kile said. "And when they're in here, they're positive role models for the kids. It's kind of like that big brother thing."

Delta Tau Delta member Bill Dower said he enjoys getting the opportunity to work with the students.

"At Baker, you don't see many little kids running around," he said. "Doing this, you can see things from their perspective."

Good said the students aren't the only ones gaining something from this experience.

"I think the guys learn more from it than the kids do sometimes," he said.

"From my own personal standpoint, having the house participate in this allows the guys who won't be teachers a chance to come do this for a short time," he said. "Maybe they'll get a different outlook on things. Maybe they'll respect teachers a little more, get involved in their kids education in the future."

MSES Principal Gus Wegner said he's happy with the way the fraternity's adopt-a-school program has worked.

"It's gone really well," Wegner said. "I could not have been more pleased."

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