Jennifer Thompson from United Way of Thurston County speaking about the Reading Buddies Program was today's program. 
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Rotary Club of Olympia
The Wheel
Date: 9/12/16
Today’s Program: Jennifer Thompson from United Way of Thurston County – United Way of Thurston County Reading Buddies Program
Meeting Called to order: 12:20pm by President Wendy Holden
Invocation by: Reid Bates
Pledge of Allegiance led by: Katy Hartman
Song: America the Beautiful
Four Way Test led by: Jim Haley
Visiting Rotarians: None.
Guest of Rotarians:
Jim Balz introduced his brother Doug Balz
Judy Henderson introduced Dr. Jamie Cooper, Associate Vice President of Student Academic Support Services (SASS) at The Evergreen State College
Rashi Gupta introduced Todd Cutts, President of Water Street Consulting in Olympia
Chris Lanese introduced Becca Glasgow, president-elect of Washington Women Lawyers and Deputy Solicitor General for the WA Attorney General’s Office
Happy Bucks – hosted by Sean Murphy
Norma Schuiteman – son-in-law now lives in the Galapagos Islands and she just returned after a long visit. It’s a wonderful place for her grandkids to be living.
John Sabo – has an upright player piano in need of a good home. Ideally it will be donated to a non-profit that can use it. Contact him directly for more information.
Jim Young, MD – as of last Saturday, after nearly 49 years, he is retired!
Kyle Cronk – Invited all Rotarians to the annual YMCA SuperGala on Sept 23. Attendees are encouraged to dress in their best Super Hero costume. For more information, contact Kyle, or visit:
Jim Balz, MD – Had two great motorcycle trips. The first was around Africa and the second was around the Black Sea.
Jewel Goddard – His granddaughter (the Stanford grad) relocated from NYC to rural Illinois. After applying for a job in rural healthcare, she was hired to lead the reduction of drug opiates for the entire state of Illinois.
Dennis Adams – recently had a wonderful dinner with fellow club member Richard Hull and several friends. The cuisine Richard prepared was literally from around the world – all places Richard has traveled. Everyone had a wonderful time and appreciated Richard sharing his culinary prowess!
President Wendy shared the following announcements:
Oscar Soule is not AWOL, he’ll be out for a bit recovering from shoulder surgery.
The Jazz Festival (Cool Jazz, Clean Water) Committee is in need of a replacement, as this year marks Kim Dinsmore’s final year. Please talk to Kim directly about the opportunity. Yes, wine tasting/sampling is involved in this committee assignment!
Classification Talk:
Rashi Gupta spoke to the club about her life and work. She is currently a Senior Policy Analyst with the Washington State House or Representatives and a proud University of Washington graduate. Her mother and father emigrated from India and could not have done this without the help of a Clark County (Washington) Commissioner, who helped her father navigate the USCIS process. The help her parents received by the White House and local elected officials, has inspired her to lead a life of service. She is proud to continue her community service by joining the Olympia Rotary club.
New Member Induction:
Micky Holden-Cooper, was introduced and inducted by her sister President Wendy Holden. Micky is a lifetime Washington resident and proud UW graduate. She is a Major Account Executive with Ricoh USA. In 1994 she moved to Olympia and is married to Dave Cooper. They have two children, Marcus and McKenzie. Wendy shared that her sister takes to hear the Girl Scout motto of leaving everything better than you found it – this is a belief she will bring to our club.
Scuderi Egg Auction: Steve Bean, auctioneer
President Wendy Holden won the dozen fresh eggs this week.
Program: United Ways of Thurston County Reading Buddies Program
Sam Bovard introduced our speaker, and reminded the club that September is Literacy Month.
Jennifer Thompson is the program manager at United Way of Thurston County for two programs: Retired/Senior Volunteer Program and the Reading Buddy Program. The United Way of Thurston County has a goal this year of recruiting 150 reading buddies for the program, so far they have secured just over 100 buddies.
Jennifer reminded us that the United Way of Thurston County is a locally based and focused organization. All of the money raised by the group stays in our community. The organization has been around for 80 years. For every $1 given to the United Way of Thurston County, $1.67 goes back into our community. This increase is thanks to the generous matching support of community partners and broad volunteer support. United Way of Thurston County has just taken over the AmeriCorps Vista program and has placed 16 individuals in non-profit organizations throughout Thurston County.
Through her work with the Retired/Senior Volunteer Program, Jennifer is focused on helping retirees and seniors in our community find meaningful volunteer opportunities. One of the big goals of United Way of Thurston County is to help reduce the poverty level in the next 10 years. To do this the organization will partner with the community (business owners, individuals, etc) and bring resources together to help elevate the most vulnerable among us.
The United Way of Thurston County Reading Buddy Program was launched in 2007/2008 as part of the United Ways national drive to recruit 1 Million reading buddy volunteers. To ensure a quality volunteer experience, and the sustainability of the program, the United Way of Thurston County created a special orientation and education program to recruit and retain reading buddy volunteers. Currently, there are over 100 individuals in the program.
The focus of the local Reading Buddy program is on bringing the community into our schools. Volunteers pledge to be in class with their buddy for at least 1 hour each week (during the school year). The consistency of a reading buddy has a tremendous impact on the children in the program. Schools participating in the program are the high-need schools (high population of free/reduced lunch students). In the last school year, the retention rate of students was 80%. In Thurston County alone there were 50 volunteers. The school districts served by the program include North Thurston, Tumwater and Rochester. Both Tumwater and Rochester have schools on the waitlist – they need buddies! By working with a buddy, each student received 6+ more hours of reading than without a buddy.
This year, the goal is to recruit 150 volunteers for the 2016-2017 school year. The volunteer schedule will be different for each school – reading generally takes place during the school day (very likely in the mornings).
For more information, or to sign-up to become a buddy, contact Jennifer Thompson (email:, phone: 360-943-2773), or go on-line to the United Way of Thurston County website:
Mr. Snappy: Lori Woodland - $25 gift card to Costco
Meeting Adjourned: 1:20pm by President Wendy Holden