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Federal Way school volunteer Jay Allison honored by governor

Jay Allison received the 2010 Governor
Jay Allison received the 2010 Governor's Volunteer Service Award for Outstanding Volunteer of National Service Programs in Washington State.
— image credit: Kyra Low/The Mirror

Jay Allison knows a thing or two about volunteering. He's had years of experience.

Allison, who has volunteered in the schools since 1988, and for AmeriCorps for 15 years, recently received the 2010 Governor's Volunteer Service Award for Outstanding Volunteer of National Service Programs in Washington State.

In addition to being recognized last week at the 2010 Governor’s Volunteer Service Awards Ceremony at the Executive Mansion in Olympia, he also was recognized at the Seattle Mariners game on April 20.

"I feel very humbled that I was even nominated," Allison said. "I don't know that I feel entirely deserving."

Allison spends three days a week — two and a half hours each session — working with students in the first and second grade at Olympic View Elementary. Each year, he gets a class list and makes a chart to keep track of time spent with each students, spending 20-25 sessions with every child.

"I find it rewarding, the exposure to these kids," Allison said. "Every year it's a new batch."

Allison makes the learning fun for the students, creating games to help with spelling, grammar and reading. Games like Word Wizard or Grumpy Grandpa's Grammar, where students search for the grammatical errors in sentences and get points for those they can find and fix. The points accumulate over the year, and when students reach 100 points, they get a stuffed animal.

Allison exposes students to geography and reading aloud with other games.

"In every case, I try to make it a competition," Allison said. "There's been some great times over the years."

"As long as they let me in the front door, I'll continue," he added.

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