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Volunteer Retirees Helping Kids With Schoolwork In Shorewood

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SHOREWOOD, Ill. (CBS) – An elementary school and a retirement community in the Joliet area have teamed up to bring together young and old for the benefit of both.

WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports Walnut Trails Elementary School and the Shorewood Glen retirement home are just down the street from each other in southwest suburban Shorewood, so they’ve begun a new partnership.

A dozen volunteers, who call themselves “The School Crew,” have been visiting classrooms once a week to help kids with schoolwork.

“It’s like having a grandma in class,” Principal Kathleen Chesareck said. “The students are benefiting, the teachers are benefiting, and I think the volunteers are benefiting.”

Barb Tschopp, 65, retired in 2005 after 40 years of teaching. She loves the opportunity to help students learn.

“I miss working with the kids on one-to-one. I love working to help them find a way to solve a problem, or answer a question,” she said.

Even after only 8 years in retirement, she said she’s seen major changes in the classrooms.

“The technology absolutely floored me,” Tschopp said. “The equipment they have, even in the last eight years that’s available, it’s phenomenal.”

Cheshareck said the kids love working with the volunteers from Shorewood Glen.

“It’s building a relationship, and a strong bond with the ladies who come in,” she said.

Most of the volunteers are retired teachers, though it’s not a requirement. They do, however, have to pass a background check.

Chesareck said she hopes the program becomes a permanent fixture.