Noted for his signature bowties, Joseph Jones has been a mentor for five years with the Everybody Wins! Iowa program at Hillside Elementary School. In March, Everybody Wins! honored Jones as the Mentor of the Month.
Jones was previously a mentor with Everybody Wins! D.C., and attended Loyola University and Drake University before becoming the executive director for the Harkin Institute for Public Policy & Citizen Engagement.
Although he enjoys reading now, Jones stated in the Everybody Wins! blog that he was not a strong reader as a child. Jones said he began to enjoy reading when he discovered what he liked and what he was passionate about. Using his experience now as a mentor, Jones expressed that he “really enjoys the days we find a book that is light and funny as we read back and forth to each other … it is fun to go on this journey with my reading buddy and to let him know that reading can be fun (eventually).”
Jones has made a big impact on his reading buddy Erick in the four years they have been reading together. Volunteer manager Anna Sunstrom noted that Jones' influence has helped Erick's self-confidence and reading ability to grow tremendously. “The friendship and bond that they have forged over the last four years will hopefully help Erick with his confidence in Middle School/ High School and beyond.”
Current on-site coordinator Amber Juffer stated that Jones being consistent in his mentoring relationship “has created a successful mentoring relationship over four years, which research has shown, impacts students in a multitude of ways. Joseph is exactly the kind of volunteer our organization needs.”
Jones loves giving back to his community and expressed that mentoring with EWI is the “perfect program … It is so important that kids know they are supported by their entire community and not just their families and teachers. We all have a vested interest in their success.”