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MASON CITY, IA- It’s national volunteer week, a time to recognize those that go above and beyond to help out.
According to “Volunteer America,” Iowa ranks third in the country followed by Minnesota at fourth for the number of people who volunteer.
But Iowa leaders are working hard to make their state number one. Washington Elementary school in Charles City is welcoming Iowa’s Governor and Lt. Governor all to recognize a very special program.
“I think they have one of the highest number of foster grandparent volunteers so the school district is to be commended for that,” said Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds.
It’s a special day for the students at this school.
They’re getting a visit from the state’s top leader for a program that’s become essential to their education.
“Our grandma gets to help us out and it’s really a privilege for us to have one come into our room and really what she does is she is like a 2nd teacher for us. We get to work with her one on one,” said 5th Grader Mason Holmen.
The foster grandparent program is designed to bring together the elderly and the youth in the community.
“I used to hate reading and my grandma has shown me that reading can really help you and it’s actually kind of fun,” said Holmen.
These volunteers spend hours in the classroom, which adds something extra to the education these kids are getting.
“When they read a book, it can really bring it back to what it was like in their day and I think that’s important, when a student can hear a real life experience like that, it makes it more real, I think,” said Lt. Gov. Reynolds.
But it’s not all about the students.
“I think the foster grandparents get a lot of good out of it too, so it’s a win-win for everybody,” said Gov. Branstad.
Foster grandparents say helping the future generation gives them a sense of purpose.
Governor Branstad says it’s important to recognize those who give their time.
“Especially when so many of today’s children can benefit from the wisdom and guidance from older, experienced adults,” said Branstad.
After their stop in Charles City – the governor and lieutenant governor continued their recognition of national volunteer week by stopping in Parkersburg to talk with the Butler County Emergency Management team.