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Team Buckley takes a Power Lunch

Senior Airman Eric Parker, 460th Space Communications Squadron, helps his Power Lunch Reading Program buddy, Luis, read a book April 19, 2013, at John H. Amesse Elementary School, Denver. Team Buckley members team up with students each week to improve the students reading level. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicholas Rau/Released)

Senior Airman Eric Parker, 460th Space Communications Squadron, helps his Power Lunch Reading Program buddy, Luis, read a book April 19, 2013, at John H. Amesse Elementary School, Denver. Team Buckley members team up with students each week to improve the students reading level. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicholas Rau/Released)

Airman 1st Class Cody Bertram, 460th Space Communications Squadron, reads with his Power Lunch Reading Program buddy, Javaun, April 19, 2013, at John H. Amesse Elementary School, Denver.  The program pairs Team Buckley members with third graders to help the students increase their reading skills. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicholas Rau/Released)

Airman 1st Class Cody Bertram, 460th Space Communications Squadron, reads with his Power Lunch Reading Program buddy, Javaun, April 19, 2013, at John H. Amesse Elementary School, Denver. The program pairs Team Buckley members with third graders to help the students increase their reading skills. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicholas Rau/Released)

Buckley Air Force Base participates in the Power Lunch Reading Program for the first time this year. Team Buckley members team up with students to improve their reading abilities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicholas Rau/Released)

Buckley Air Force Base participates in the Power Lunch Reading Program for the first time this year. Team Buckley members team up with students to improve their reading abilities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicholas Rau/Released)

Tech. Sgt. Andrea Hunt, 460th Space Communications Squadron, helps her Power Lunch Reading Program buddy, Juana, read a new book April 19, 2013, at John H. Amesse Elementary School, Denver. Buckley Air Force Base participates in the program for the first time this year. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicholas Rau/Released)

Tech. Sgt. Andrea Hunt, 460th Space Communications Squadron, helps her Power Lunch Reading Program buddy, Juana, read a new book April 19, 2013, at John H. Amesse Elementary School, Denver. Buckley Air Force Base participates in the program for the first time this year. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicholas Rau/Released)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Team Buckley members travel to John H. Amesse Elementary School every week to participate in the Power Lunch Reading Program to help students improve their reading skills and provide them with positive mentorship.

This is the first year Buckley volunteers have engaged in Power Lunch, but according to Michael Williams, Denver Public Schools parent and community engagement specialist, their impact is already being felt.

"Reading is improving with a lot of the kids. In fact, volunteers are finding that they are reading better and better each week," Williams explained. "You are seeing a lot of better behavior; teachers are saying that kids are acting a lot better.

"We have some kids that have some confidence issues in some ways and teachers are saying, 'He's a little more confident, he's got a little more pep in his step and he's got his shoulders up a little bit.' I am looking at that and I know where that is coming from. That's coming straight from the Airmen," Williams stated.

DPS reached out to Team Buckley in an attempt to connect third graders with service members.

"Military members have an innate piece of leadership and authority that comes across with kids, as well as that professionalism that they don't get to see all the time," Williams said. "It just an awesome thing to have for the kids -- to be able to have that interaction with folks that have that presence about them."

Each week, Team Buckley members carpool to the school, because as Senior Airman Eric Parker, 460th Space Communications Squadron, puts it, "It gives me an opportunity to help Luis."

Each volunteer is teamed up with a child for the school semester, as with Parker and 9-year-old Luis, and they get to see first-hand the effects of their efforts.

"It gives him a little more practice and a little more motivation so that he keeps coming back (to reading)," Parker explained. "When he finishes something that I think is really hard for him and he does a really good job at it, it is rewarding for me."

As for Luis, he said he sees his reading improve because every day he is reading harder and harder books. But his favorite part about Power Lunch is much simpler.

"I get to read with somebody," the third grader said with a smile.
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