Volunteer reads to students at Hedges Elementary


KALISPELL, Mont. - Jim Holland was a teacher for the past 50 years all over the globe, from Columbia Falls to Taiwan. But now that he's retired, he's taken on a different role at Hedges Elementary School in Kalispell.

"I come here at 12 o'clock; I stay till the school is over. I start with one boy helping him read, then I go to two kindergarten classes, and I go to two second grade classes," Holland said.

Volunteering his time, he sits in the hallway and takes turns reading pages with students who need extra help.

"Sometimes they just want to read with me. Not necessarily needing help," Holland said.

Staff say he's been a positive influence at the school since he started three years ago.

"Our kids look forward to having him here. Our teachers look forward to having him here," Hedges Principal Natalie Miller said. "Last night in a staff meeting we shared, we talked about Jim and our volunteers and the entire room just smiled and went, 'We love Jim!' so without Jim, there's a missing link."

Holland says there was a missing link for him too after being in a classroom for 50 years.

"This isn't so much for the school, I enjoy it every day. It's for me," Holland said.

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