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Ellsworth Airmen mentor youth

ELLSWORTH AFB, S.D. -- One of Ellsworth's non-commissioned officers is actively taking the time to get out of the decimal points and dollar signs in finance and into the imaginations of school children. 

"Last year one of my Airmen asked if they could read to the Kindergarteners, which prompted me to ask how I could get on the list to read as well," said Staff Sgt. Michael Delforge Jr., 28th Comptroller Squadron financial analyst. "I loved reading to them so much, I asked to be the (point of contact)." 

"At the beginning of each school year, I get a number of teachers who are interested in having volunteers read to their class," Sergeant Delforge explained. 

These teachers are from the Douglas School district, mainly Badger Clark elementary, and arrange for the volunteers to read every Thursday. 

Once interested Airmen contact Sergeant Delforge, they are added to an email list. Currently there are 22 Ellsworth members on the volunteer list - several read to the children regularly. 

Sergeant Delforge sends weekly emails requesting volunteers. 

"I have a 'first come, first serve' plan," Sergeant Delforge said. "They (the volunteers) will snatch (the slots) almost as soon as the e-mail is sent." 

"After someone volunteers for the first time, I usually ask them 'how did it go?' I get reactions like 'I loved it, the kids were great' or 'can you put me on the schedule for every Thursday so I can read all the time?' I've never gotten a negative reply," said Sergeant Delforge. 

Anytime someone can take time to interact with our children, they should do it, said Sergeant Delforge whose six-year-old child is in one of the classes. 

"To me, this is a great way to get in the school and spy on her, I mean see how she is doing," Sergeant Delforge joked. 

"I think it also lets her and her teacher know that I am involved in her life. I don't have a whole lot of time to share with my kids, so I take every opportunity I can to do things like have lunch with them or read to them." 

For more information or to volunteer, contact Sergeant Delforge at 385-1560.