Mary Riehle Service Award 2018 announced

The East Side Learning Center proudly announced the recipient of the first Mary Riehle Service Award, presented at the Super Hero Celebration held April 27. Named in honor of one of the ESLC’s first tutors, the Mary Riehle Service Award recognizes an individual who possesses the same qualities of kindness, respect, and a loving heart as Mary.

Sharon JohnsonESLC Executive Director, Chris Flippo, described recipient Sharon Johnson and her impact on the organization, “Sharon Johnson has gone above and beyond in her responsibilities as a professional tutor. Sharon is committed to building meaningful relationships with her students and works hard in adapting lessons for each child. She is always willing to help and improve student service and outcomes.”

Sharon became involved with the ESLC after retiring from the St. Paul Public Schools because she wanted to continue working with children in education. “I loved the idea of working with one child four days a week, and felt the program was a good match me. I knew the effect this could make in a child’s reading progress.”

Expounding on her involvement as an ESLC tutor' Sharon said, “I’ve been involved with the ESLC as both a site and professional tutor. I continue to witness the growth made by my students as they gain confidence as readers. The relationship formed between student and tutor is crucial to the success of this program. Students know that another person really cares, and they look forward to tutoring sessions.”

Sharon’s commitments to building meaningful relationships with her students and to adapting lessons to make them interesting and effective for each child are just two of the reasons she was chosen as the first recipient of the Mary Riehle Service Award.

The ESLC is excited to recognize Sharon Johnson with the first Mary Riehle Service Award. Sharon’s dedication embodies both our and Mary’s mission to improve the lives of St. Paul children through teaching them the joys of reading through building a solid foundation.

2018 Mary Riehle Service Award Nominees

Dean Andrew

I nominate Dean Andrew for serving as a tutor and serving on the Board of Directors for six years, including three as the Chair of the Board. He chaired the Board through the transition in leadership last year, serves on the fundraising committee this year to help ensure ESLC can serve children for years to come, and tutors. His service embodies our values to always keep the needs of the children first. Because, as Sr. Audrey always said, “It’s all about the children!”

Lois Charboneau

I nominate Lois Charboneau for the Mary Riehle Service Award because she has been a faithful professional tutor for 12 years. In addition to fulfilling her responsibilities as a professional tutor, Lois has volunteered countless hours assisting third and fourth grade teachers at HOPE by working with individuals or small groups who are significantly below grade level because they are new immigrants and lack the language base needed for success at their grade level. For the past few years she also has directed Readers’ Theatre here as part of the Enrichment Program.

Lois generously shares her time and talent by “picking up the pieces.” She offers to be present to prepare for or help with special activities, putting away materials, organizing space, cleaning, running errands, picking up students from classrooms—all the behind the scenes tasks involved in working with our students.

Lois has a deep love of reading and an insatiable desire to bring all children to that same love and enjoyment of reading. She is always finding special books at the library or at home, exposing students to good literature and expanding their experience of many literary genre. She often follows up with students who no longer come to ESLC to see how they are doing. They chase her down frequently to share their most recent successes.

Jean Fenstad

I nominate Jean Fenstad to be considered for the Mary Riehle Award because Jean goes outside of her tutoring hours to ensure that the students receive the best learning experience. Jean will frequently inquire about the health of her students, as well as the other students she encounters. She has sewn super hero capes for all sites. Jean uses her time away from tutoring to enhance her students' learning experiences by seeking outside advice and looking for ideas on how to stimulate learning. Often I will find an evening email from Jean with ideas, worries, or inquiries about the students; her mind is always working for the betterment of the students. When tutor needs are posted, she will often come in and cover the empty spots and sometimes even get a friend to come in to fill another spot. I believe she feels she can make a difference in each child and will keep trying until she is successful.

Ann Marie Schaffhausen

I nominate Ann Marie Schaffhausen to be considered for the Mary Riehle Service Award because she has served ESLC as a volunteer, professional tutor and substitute for nine years. Her highest priority as a tutor is to serve the needs of learners. She embraces children where they are, learns from them and adapts curriculum as well as her instructional methods without compromising the ESLC process. She has been especially adept at utilizing her skills as a hearing-impaired educator to assist students with speech and hearing needs. She is consistently willing to sacrifice her time to help and support ESLC when needed—mending books, cleaning, organizing, helping prepare sites, and even working on projects at home. Even though she is semi-retired she values life-long learning and takes advantage of opportunities for her own professional growth and development.

Ann Marie is a remarkable and inspiring individual. She is a gentle presence with deep respect for others—children and adults, peers and visitors, seasoned tutors and new tutors, partners in ministry and school personnel. Like Mary Riehle, she is devoted to children and strives to make a difference by helping children believe in themselves and become successful readers!

Mike Stuhl

I nominate Mike Stuhl, who shows up for tutoring multiple days a week and always shows patience and care for each child, regardless of what they say or do. Mike is an Experience Corps volunteer who graciously donates extra time to also serve as a substitute tutor when needed.