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May 31, 2018 05:21 PM

Volunteer "Adopts" A Classroom, Makes A Difference

Every once in a while we hear that a story we shared with you makes a difference.

Last fall we told you about how some Sioux Falls schools, such as Terry Redlin Elementary, struggle to get enough volunteers. That can have a lasting impact on students, such as lower grades and a higher chance of dropping out. Our story was a call to action for one Sioux Falls woman.

First grader Ezequiel Pena has made leaps and bounds this year when it comes to reading.

One of the reasons why? He's had a secret minion on his side all school year. Pena and his classmates had a woman sponsor his first grade classroom at Terry Redlin.

She gave supplies and books for every child to take home on seven holidays throughout the year.

Thursday, they finally met their so-called secret minion, who also brought along a special friend and special surprises, including minion cookies. 

...and a final book for every student.

"It's unbelievable. These kids are such happy kids, and yet they have so little," Cheri Knox said.

Knox says she was inspired to adopt the classroom after watching a KELOLAND News story. It's an experience unlike anything else, including her yearly medical mission trips.

"We have a need right here in Sioux Falls. We need to open our eyes to that," Knox said.

The class teacher says the books have helped the kids dramatically this year.

"The fact that they use it as a reading tool in the classroom, and each kids knows they have their very own personal book. I think that's the best part," Knox said.

A part that has inspired Pena to think about the next chapter of his life. His future dream job?

"Library person," Pena said.

Knox hopes to adopt a classroom again next year. Several of her coworkers are also getting involved.

© 2018 KELOLAND TV. All Rights Reserved.



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