When her husband passed away over 16 years ago, Betty Morris felt she needed something to do with her time. She contacted Eyestone Elementary, offering to volunteer.
Since that time, Morris, 83-years-young, has been volunteering at Eyestone three days a week, more than three hours each day, helping first-, second- and third-grade students.
Morris was recently selected as a Channel 7Everyday Hero. Channel 7's Mitch Jelniker recently presented Morris with the award in the classroom. “Betty’s Story” will broadcast the week of June 10, and be available on their website after June 14.
Third-grade teacher Michelle Hayes said, “She is an amazing volunteer, who you know will always be there when she says she will be there. She’s funny, a little bit sassy, and doesn’t take guff from anybody! She is always willing to take on any job, and holds the students accountable, expecting them to meet their goals. Morris presents a ‘grandmotherly’ influence, and the students love to work with her.”
Morris helps in the classroom by working with students who have missed assignments and helping them with their reading. She also assists teachers with copying materials, and anything else that is needed, so the teachers can “teach.”
First-grade teacher Ruth Brungardt said, “I always know I can give her any child, activity, or group to work with and the job will be well done. She has been reading with my students this year. She makes sure that they do the work, and the thinking, so their reading improves.”
When asked why she volunteers, Morris said, “I like kids. Volunteering helped me over the hump after my husband passed away. I was going ‘bonkers’ with nothing to do. I can’t sit still! So, I called the school and they ‘gobbled me up.’ They’ve kept me busy ever since! It’s nice to watch kids grow and all of a sudden, you see the light go on. It’s very gratifying to see them learn to like school and reading.”
Morris believes reading is most important in learning and says, “Once you can read, you can do anything. If you can read, you can have the world.”
In her spare time, she enjoys quilting, swimming, and yoga. “I try to stay out of trouble,” says Morris. She has two children and five grandchildren. She also enjoys taking cruises, and has been to six countries.
Morris will officially “retire” from volunteering at Eyestone at the end of this school year. “I made dear friends, who spoil me rotten," she said. "The kids have kept me young. Volunteering gave to me. The Eyestone staff has been so kind to me.”