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Citizen of the Week

Anne Loring’s passion for student learning is immediately evident as she excitedly chats about her tutoring experiences at Fall City Elementary.

For five years, she has served as a Reading Buddy to third graders in need of extra help bringing their literacy skills up to grade level. Mentoring one student half an hour each week over an entire year has allowed her to develop strong bonds with her mentees and monitor their progress. Along with other volunteers and the school’s Literacy for Life program coordinator Katie Morris, Loring has helped build a program that boosts students’ confidence as well as their academic prowess.

In too many schools, children who are pulled out for special help are made to feel ashamed for being different. Not at Fall City Elementary. When Loring arrived at class one recent week to find that her student was absent, she offered to help the teacher. Students’ hands shot up in the air, asking to have one-on-one reading and writing time with Loring.

The volunteers’ and staff members’ enthusiasm for the program and encouragement of the students who participate make them feel special for having a Reading Buddy.

“It’s an honor and exciting to give that to the students — that idea that this is my friend who has faith in me,” Loring said.

The personal connection, along with watching the students’ improvement, is the reward for Loring.

“The really exciting part is to see their growth,” she said with a big grin. “They learn, and then doggone it if they don’t go home and read to their parents.”

Like a number of other Reading Buddies, Loring doesn’t have any children attending the school. She started tutoring shortly after moving to Fall City at the suggestion of a friend as a way to get involved in the community and meet more neighbors.

Loring has also lent her remarkable energy to the Snoqualmie Valley Relay for Life, which will be held July 12 this year. A cancer survivor, she started participating in Relay’s luminaria ceremony, meant to honor those who have survived or lost their lives to cancer. That was four years ago, and every year since she has stepped up her involvement with the cause, which raises money to fight cancer. As publicity coordinator for the local Relay, Loring shares her personal stories to inspire others to help.

Though reluctant to be put in the spotlight as Citizen of the Week, Loring agreed in order to promote the causes she cares about.

“I am one small cog in these wonderful groups,” she said. The community could use more cogs like her.

• Fall City Elementary’s Learning for Life program, funded through grants solicited by the school’s PTA, is always looking for volunteers. For more information, e-mail program coordinator Katie Morris at morrisk@svsd410.org.

• Do you know Valley residents who deserve recognition for their good work? Nominate them for Citizen of the Week, an award co-sponsored by the Valley Record and Replicator Graphics. Send your ideas to editor@valleyrecord.com, or call (425) 888-2311.

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