Posted by Chuck Chase on Jun 23, 2017
Kathy Sielsky, Reading Specialist and Deb Risner – principal (just retired) of Michener Elementary School were on hand to recap the success of this year’s Fluency Friends Program at the school. Kathy mentioned to the audience how grateful she and Deb were for our help and that of the Adrian Morning Club members who volunteered in reading with and helping to build relationships with the children. A total of 32 elementary students participated in the program this year, she said. Volunteers were able to provide 152 additional hours of reading practice to the kids!
Some 92% of the students at Michener Elementary fall into the “at risk” category, Kathy said. This program is particularly significant because it allows volunteers to provide positive role models for them to follow. Reading at home, Kathy emphasized, was not something these youngsters typically do so our time with them is huge! 60% of the students achieved their projected reading goals as established by the NWEA.
A reception was held on May 25th in their school library for all of the students and volunteers who participated. During the reception, as a result of the $1.000 contribution we made to this program, each of the children were able to choose five books they wanted to take home with them and keep. Kathy said that she was extremely pleased that every member who volunteered this past year signed up to return again next year! She encouraged anyone who has not yet done this, to see Mary Murray to sign up to help next school year. She concluded her portion of the presentation by presenting a Maple Pride Award certificate to our club, compliments of the Michener’s Pride Patrol, for our involvement in this very important program. Shown above are Deb Risner on the left and Kathy Sielsky on the right.
Deb Risner then spoke and said that Michener Elementary is, indeed, a very special place since everything they do is so needed and very appreciated. The parents of these children have to work so hard to provide for their families and really don’t have the time to do other things, she said, and that’s why the relationship our members have with them are so important! “You folks value school and know how important it is for kids to have an education and these kids don’t get that kind of encouragement at home because their parents didn’t have those kinds of experiences themselves.”  She concluded by saying: “This is a very special club”, she said, holding back tears.
Mary Murray said that this program was very close to her heart as a former educator. “No one lives by the motto ‘Service Above Selfmore than Deb Risner”, Mary said. No matter what time you are at Michener, Deb was always in the hallway it seemed greeting the kids, parents and volunteers, Mary said! “The tone she set at the school was incredible. She has touched the lives of every student and has done so much for our community. On behalf of everyone here”, she said, “I just want to thank you for everything you’ve done and wish you nothing but the best in your retirement.”  
A special shout out goes to Mary Murray for helping out with this program each of the past three years who acts as our “go-between“ with the club and Michener Elementary, orders the books, sets up each year for the reception, and many other things! Thanks, Mary!!