Dr. Joseph Gugenheim is a recently retired orthopedic surgeon who spends much of his time giving back to the community for organizations such as Star of Hope (until September 2017), his medical school alumni association and Making It Better. When asked what led him to Making It Better he responded, “I preferred to donate to and work for a program where our donation stays in the local community.” Studies show that by age 3, children born into low-income families hear roughly 30 million fewer words than their more affluent peers. Thus, word gap factors into a compounding gap affecting the quality of a child’s education and life. More conversations (beyond reading) mean more opportunities given to the child to succeed. Since joining Making It Better in October 2016, Joseph has become an engaged supporter in helping close the word gap as a weekly mentor in our Lunch Bunch program where he was paired with 5th grade boys last school year at Walnut Bend Elementary. Because he helped empower the boys to succeed, they graduated 5th grade ready for middle school. This school year, Joseph is mentoring boys in 4th grade and will continue to empower them through 5th grade as well. Joseph has also volunteered at our Family Literacy Nights and read weekly to a 1st grade classroom during Read Aloud Month to help encourage the love of reading. Beyond dedicating his time to volunteering, Joseph and his wife have generously donated to help fulfill our mission. When asked what his experience has been like working with kids in the Lunch Bunch program, Joseph responded, “These children from disadvantaged homes are like little sponges, eager to absorb anything we teach them.” Not only does Joseph impact the lives of our kids, he is always developing his wealth of knowledge and sharing with others so he can strengthen that impact to make a difference. All of us at Making It Better are grateful to be able to work alongside volunteers like Joseph in helping to fulfill our mission! If you would like to learn more about how to get involved, visit our website HERE or email email@example.com.