Volunteer Family Receives Optimist Award

Students and staff of Pilot Knob STEM Magnet School enjoyed the excitement when the Optimist Club of West St. Paul arrived Wednesday morning to announce some very good news. The service club, whose mission is being a friend to youth, selects an Optimist of the Year each spring and this year decided to widen their recognition to include an entire family. Jim and Julie Bader and their 20 year old daughter Kaela all volunteer to be reading mentors for children in 2nd thru 4th grades. Jim Bader was the only one still in the dark when the prize patrol entered the normally very quiet library area. Pilot Knob Principal Tom Benson had told Jim’s wife and daughter that they should be on hand to congratulate him and were surprised in turn when President of the Optimist Club, Chuck Spavin, informed them it was all a ruse; and that the entire family was to be honored. The family spends many hours to help children who benefit from one-on-one reading time and Jim called the giving really a gift to himself as he sees just how much children can grow when given extra encouragement that volunteers can provide. The family received some small gifts along with the offer for all of them to ride in an open air convertible in the West St. Paul Days Parade on Saturday, May 20th.

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