“Peggy Garfield has been a gigantic blessing to Providence…As a result of her gift of time, nightly our students have books to read on their level. Thanks to her diligence, reading at this level will enhance students’ ability to be college and career ready.” – LouAnne Metzger, principal of Providence Elementary.
Walk through the front doors of Providence Elementary School, and, right in the foyer, Peggy Garfield is hard at work. Piles of books around her, Garfield crouches over a giant table, where she carefully checks off the books that are the read and compiles a new package of books to send home.
For the past seven years, Garfield has been organizing and managing the school’s Take Home Readers program. The program identifies where first-grade students are in their reading level and provides students books to take home that match their reading abilities. Once they are finished with a book, they return it for a new one.
“It’s not going to the library and just getting books that’s (either) below their level or very above their level,” Garfield explained. “It’s a great program.”
It’s a great program that takes about two hours a week, organizing the books that have come back in and then redistributing books to every child.
“We like to see the kids progress,” Garfield said. “We like to see that. We like to see the younger ones in the lower level where they’re returning their books on a regular basis.”
While Garfield has another full-time job working as a nurse as CHKD, she has prioritized her time at Providence and purposefully schedules herself to have off the same two days a week in order to come in to the school.
At first, this dedication to volunteering was to see her granddaughter, who attended Providence. However, now, seven years later, her granddaughter has moved on to middle school. Yet, Garfield dutifully continues giving her time.
Bringing her efforts full circle, she will often bring her granddaughter with her in the mornings to help volunteer as well, before she makes the walk from Providence to her middle school.
“It helps teachers a lot, and it helps students in the end,” Garfield said of her work. She added that she would encourage others to find ways they can easily plug in and get started there.
“Get involved,” she said. “There are lots of jobs at a school. Start out with your child’s classroom and see what you can do there.”
To find ways you can get involved, visit the division’s Get Connected page at vbschools.com/getconnected and find volunteer opportunities available in VBCPS schools. For more information about the Volunteers in Education program as a whole, visit the page to learn more about the service of VBCPS volunteers.