Mimi Pudenz, a project manager for Wells Fargo, has been reading to students in Candice Ostrich’s kindergarten class since November as part of a 10-week reading program.
Mimi Pudenz, a project manager for Wells Fargo, has been reading to students in Candice Ostrich’s kindergarten class since November as part of a 10-week reading program.
A volunteer from Wells Fargo is in the middle of a 10-week reading program with kindergarten students at Fairview Elementary School.

Mimi Pudenz has been volunteering in Candice Ostrich's room since mid-November.

She has been reading books from Scholastic Inc. and using a program from Desert Arc.

The program is designed for pre-kindergarten through second-grade students. Pudenz said the programs are available in English and Spanish.

The program's goal is to increase volunteerism in the community and promote childhood literacy.

A recent book was about a girl who read a book every night with her dad.

The next day, she would act out the books by dressing as the book's main character.

She'd turn into things such as fairies and monsters.

As Pudenz read the book, students took turns lining up each activity with the day of the week it was happening, using a calendar in the classroom.

At the end of the book, Ostrich asked the students how many of them read every night.

"You should read every day you eat," she told them.

Wells Fargo's Reading First program started in 1997 and has been active in more than 39,000 classrooms, helped more than 700,000 students and donated more than 1 million books to classroom libraries. Wells Fargo, along with Scholastic Inc. and Desert Arc, purchase and assemble packets of 10 books for team members, and all books read are then donated to the classroom.

Pudenz is a project manager for Wells Fargo and works out of the Jordan Creek office in West Des Moines. She also telecommutes or works from home part time. This is her first year with Wells Fargo, so her first opportunity to volunteer in Reading First. She previously volunteered in middle-school students' Get Smart About Credit program.

She is a 1995 Carroll High School graduate and daughter of Nikki Holmes and the late Mike "Dennis" Holmes. Her husband, Devin, is a Kuemper Catholic High School graduate.

The Pudenzes live in Breda and have three children: Brittan, 8, a third-grader at Fairview; Claire, 6, a kindergartner in Ostrich's class; and Owen, 5, a Fairview preschooler.