Partners in Education has long history of community involvement

Over three decades ago, Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company and Grinnell Middle School formed a partnership that continues to thrive today. Partners in Education (PIE) assists the middle school in a variety of ways, and also benefits Grinnell Mutual employees by giving them an opportunity to give back to the community.

“I think we are very fortunate because we’ve always had our company president serve on the Partners in Education committee,” Barb Baker, committee chair, said. “That’s helped keep us viable and active.”

The group is committed to showing students a business side of the community as well as organizing keynote speakers for staff, offering support for teacher training, and assisting with food and locations for community events. PIE also assists with funding for programs and items that the school district may not be able to provide.

The committee’s involvement is often hands-on. Grinnell Mutual offers employee volunteers in a variety of areas including chaperoning, help at sporting events, judging school contests, and assisting the students with preparing for presentations.

The group also organizes plenty of fun events for the students.

The annual picnic to welcome fifth graders to the middle school is a popular event. The students get lunch, free play time, and a brief presentation on what PIE does for the school. This provides the foundation for the students to recognize Grinnell Mutual staff as volunteers within the school.

The Partners in Education Homecoming parade float has been traded in for a ‘walking float’ so student participation isn’t limited. The students walk with a banner identifying them as participants in the program and hand out candy to attendees.

Sixth graders are invited to participate in Highway Cleanup where they join Grinnell Mutual staff to pick up litter.

“This activity often makes students think twice about littering,” Baker said.

For seventh and eighth graders, the jazz band and honor choir alternate years to perform for Grinnell Mutual staff during the holidays. The concert is brief, but treats are provided and staff is encouraged to attend.

Students are invited to Grinnell Mutual for Bring Your Child to Work Day and company employees may also “adopt” students who have been identified as ones who might benefit from mentor involvement.

Every year, PIE has a school supply drive that has become so successful, supplies are often delivered to schools outside of Grinnell as well. The program also holds an annual academic celebration for students who continue to improve their Iowa Assessment exam scores. These students are invited to Grinnell Mutual building for treats and a certificate presentation.

Helping Hands is a special program between Grinnell Mutual staff and Grinnell Middle School students.

“Volunteers are people from Grinnell Mutual who are willing to take an hour out of their week to meet with a student for whatever need the student may have — sometimes it’s scholastic and sometimes it’s organizational or social skills,” Baker said. “These volunteers provide support and caring for students at an individual level, something that might be missing from the child’s daily life.”

Grinnell Mutual values relationships in communities like yours. Learn more about how Grinnell Mutual partners with organizations dedicated to improving the quality of life in communities in the Midwest.