Today we highlight Pat Early, one of seven school and community partners honored with a 2016 Champ Award. His award was sponsored by First National Bank of Michigan and CIS Board member Carol McGlinn announced his award at the Champ event. Since Pat was unable to attend the celebration as he was out of the country, upon his return he was presented with his Champ award at King-Westwood Elementary School.
For the past three years, Pat Early has been volunteering with Communities In Schools of Kalamazoo at King-Westwood Elementary. A retired Chemical Production Coordinator for Pfizer, he tutors several hours a week. “He’s such a valuable member of our team,” says CIS Site Coordinator Laura Keiser. “I can connect him with all different kinds of kids who have various academic needs. He doesn’t back away from a challenge, and trust me, some of the kids have tested him!”
Because the students know their tutor genuinely enjoys and cares about them, they look forward to learning with Pat each week. Pat also hosts a monthly science club with fourth graders. His goal is to make science fun and hands-on. Recently, the students made lava lamps using Alka-Seltzer tablets. His demonstrations spark questions that naturally emerge as the students experience wonder.
It should come, then, as no surprise that CIS Volunteer Coordinator Kaitlin Martin turned to Pat for help with piloting Water Wizards—a collaboration between the Kalamazoo County Drain Commissioner’s Office, Kalamazoo River Cleanup Coalition, and Communities In Schools. Pat immediately hopped on board. Using the portable model Drain Commissioner Patricia Crowley purchased, Pat teaches students about water cycles and conservation.
Most recently, Pat has worked to bring in the “Birds of Prey show and tell” from the Kalamazoo Nature Center. It’s no wonder Site Coordinator Laura Keiser and her King-Westwood team are thrilled to have Pat Early on their team!
Pat couldn’t attend the celebration so we’ll close with a letter he wrote:
Missing the Champs celebration disappoints me. Celebrating the work done by volunteers, staff and teachers reminds us to strive for the ultimate reward: successful students. Laura Keiser, CIS Site Coordinator at King-Westwood School, gives me strategies and support to be a more effective CIS volunteer. Thank you, Laura.
I look forward to working with the students so that they learn their lessons and grow as individuals.
I am in Buenos Aires, Argentina celebrating with my daughter. She is completing a five month study abroad program through Western Michigan University. She plans to continue on to medical school. Her journey started with a curiosity to learn. She has added hours of hard work to the curiosity to be successful.
I look forward to returning to King-Westwood next week to help other students on their journey.
Gracias por el reconocimiento, (thanks for the recognition).
Pat Early, we thank you for helping kids stay in school and achieve in life.