Students at Padonia International Elementary enjoy the Lunch Bunch Program


Larry Dreyer, a volunteer from Becton, Dickinson, and Company, reads to a group of third graders during Lunch Bunch at Padonia International Elementary.

Padonia International Elementary is fortunate to have a wonderful community partner in Becton, Dickinson and Company, a medical technology company with offices in Sparks, Maryland.  BD Diagnostics has donated $6,000 over the past six years to Padonia to fund the technology fund, purchased an interactive Promethean whiteboard for technology-enhanced lessons, library books, and personal books for the students involved in the Lunch Bunch program. The company also partnered with the school to make its Lunch Bunch program a great success. Volunteers from BD come to Padonia once a week to read aloud to a group of five or six students and engage them in discussion during their lunch period.

Iris Kutch, who has volunteered weekly for the past five years, reads to a rotating group of first graders.  "I enjoy spending time with kids, reading to them or them reading to me or just talking," said Mrs. Kutch, a senior software engineer at BD.  "Their point of view is so innocent and refreshing; it keeps me young and open minded.  I can really be myself around them because they are so accepting of other people."


Iris Kutch, a senior software engineer at Becton, Dickinson and Company, has volunteered as a Lunch Bunch reader at Padonia International Elementary for the past five years. Here she is sharing book with a group of first graders during their lunch period.

The first graders can't wait for their turn to have Mrs. Kutch read to them. "It's fun to eat and read books," said Jimena Alvarado. "It's great because you can hear and learn how to read [from Mrs. Kutch]. She likes to read books like, Silly Hair Day."

Larry Dreyer, a project scientist at BD, has been reading to a rotating group of third graders. "I like interacting with the kids, as I know they are our future.  My only child is now 35 and living in New York, so I don't get the chance to spend time with young children much anymore."

The Lunch Bunch program is very flexible, and not limited to BD employees. Volunteers choose a time to read based on the grade level of their interest. They are welcome to come whenever fits their schedule. They pick up their group of students in the cafeteria, read for 20 minutes, and then take the students back to the cafeteria to rejoin their homerooms.

Story and photos submitted by Jennifer Mileto, Teacher
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