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Volunteer continues to help children read as her 102nd birthday approaches
Published Wednesday, February 1, 2017 3:29PM MST
Gertie Williams makes the trip to Belvedere Parkway School in Bowness each Thursday, as she has for the better part of two decades, to participate in the school’s grandparent reading program.
Williams, who will celebrate her 102nd birthday on February 4, says she’s proud to instill a love for reading in young people.
“I enjoy it and I feel it's really helping the children,” said Williams. “You know there's so many children whose parents don't read to them or they don't seem to have books at home and they really need help.”
The literacy program at Belvedere Parkway School has been going strong for nearly 20 years and Williams has been a constant since its inception. The senior citizen’s efforts have had a lasting impact on hundreds of children throughout the years including current second grade students Jillian, Layla, Max and Declan,
“Grandma Gertie is a loving grandma that's turning 102,” said Jillian as she read the words she wrote in her birthday card to Williams. “She is the best.”
Layla listed some of Williams’ admirable traits in the birthday card she made for the volunteer.
“One: I love grandma Gertie ‘cause she's very kind,” said Layla. “Two, She's very smart. Three: So thanks for reading with us.”
Max says he loves that Williams listens to him read aloud and Declan added that reading is a great way to learn.
Gloria Prokopow, who drives Williams to the school, says the senior always receives a warm reception from the children.
“They love her,” said Prokopow. “When we’re walking down the hall or going out to the car, they are always ‘Hi Grandma Gertie’. They just love her and they gravitate to her.”
Williams says she has no plans to stop reading with the children. “I intend to keep going as long as I'm able to get out.”
For her commitment to reading and the children of Belvedere Parkway School, Gertie Williams is this week’s Inspiring Albertan.
With files from CTV's Darrel Janz