VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT - KATHY STONE
At age ten, Kathy Fritz (Stone) and her parents moved from Iowa to White Bear Lake so her father could teach math in the town’s junior high school. During her father’s 35-year career and beyond, Kathy made her own way through the District. First as a student, then a student-worker, Kathy went on to become a district parent of two, a district grandparent of seven, a 34-year employee, and an invaluable member of WBLAEF’s volunteer force.
Kathy started her White Bear Lake School District career at Sunrise as a clerk-typist and over three decades later, retired from the Office of the Assistant Superintendent. One of the reasons for her successful 34-year tenure, Kathy explained, was her colleagues. “I stayed because I liked what I did but I really liked the people I worked with and the people I worked for.”
Over the years, Kathy has worked hard on the golf tournaments, and Foundation members worked hard trying to convince her to join the board. However, Kathy kept them at bay continuing to volunteer on planning committees and at The Closet.
Kathy’s enthusiasm for the Foundation is truly rooted in The Closet, a store managed by the Foundation to help families with life-needs free of charge. “The Closet is really my passion. Mostly because I know how overwhelming it can feel to have to buy clothes, like winter jackets, for your kids. I was there once. A single mom with two small children, but I was lucky to have family in the area to help me out. I know many parents in the area aren’t as lucky.”
“People don’t realize how many families right here in White Bear Lake need help,” Kathy said as she recalled one freezing afternoon when she was staffing The Closet and met a mom needing a winter coat for her son. Kathy found the boy a perfect winter coat. As the mom turned to leave, Kathy interrupted her departure to ask if her single-layer windbreaker was her cold-weather jacket. The mom nodded “yes.” Kathy invited her back to the racks, where she helped outfit the mom with a jacket appropriate for a White Bear Lake winter.
In retirement, Kathy decided she had the time to take an official role within the Foundation. “My motivation to join the board was, I really wanted to learn. Learn more about how grants were awarded and what else they did to help district teachers and students. And of course, I knew some of the board members already, and knew they were good people, so I said yes.”
One of the best things about being on the board, Kathy said, is personally awarding grants to teachers in front of their students. “The teachers’ faces just light up with excitement, and their kids get excited too, when we go in their classes and announce they’re grant winners. And since I worked in the District so long, I know a lot of teachers and I just love it when we get to surprise someone I already know.” The Foundation funds ideas outside of the District’s budget, and teachers are ecstatic to be able to move forward their innovative ideas from the grant funds.
As a new board member, Kathy sees firsthand the impact grant money has in our schools. An unexpected benefit of being on the board, Kathy says, is listening to grantees’ presentations on how the funds were used. She remembers, “A couple of teachers came back from a professional development trip in New York and they were so, so excited to tell us about all the teaching ideas they had to take back to their classrooms, they just couldn’t stop talking about what they learned and wanted to do next.”
Thank you, Kathy, for your unyielding dedication and positivity you bring to The White Bear Lake Area Educational Foundation.
This is an unpaid, volunteer position who will help 4-6 hours/week with event preparation and planning and other tasks as necessary.
For a detailed listing, CLICK HERE.
Interested in helping with one of our fundraising events or helping at the Closet?
The work of the White Bear Lake Area Educational Foundation is made up of the efforts of countless volunteers. Projects range from long-term, such as serving on the board of directors, short term, such as serving on an event planning committee or the commitment of just one day to help with a specific event or activity.
The Foundation holds several events each year where volunteers can serve.
Each June the Foundation hosts the Annual Golf Tournament. There is room on the planning committee. There are also opportunities for people to help the day of the event such as registering attendees or helping with contests on the course.
Our annual BEAR Legacy Event Fundraiser would not be successful each year without the assistance of many volunteers. We are always looking for eager volunteers to assist in set up and during the event.
Additionally, from time to time, assistance may be needed in the Foundation’s office, assembling a mailing or entering data.
As you can see, there is a place for everyone who would like to share their time, talents and energy with the Foundation. If you are interested in helping with any of these events or would like more information, please fill out the information below and we will have someone get in contact with you just as soon as possible. Thank you for your support of the Foundation!