KENT — Linda Roebke, 76, says she volunteers at St. Patrick School because she loves being around the kids. 

"I love the children," she said. "I love that I am able to help them get better in their school work and give the teacher a little bit of a break."

Roebke, is in her second year volunteering with first-grade teacher Shelby Snellenberger’s class. She helps students with reading and writing each Wednesday. 

"Linda is a super-big help," Snellenberger said. "She comes in every week and helps me during my reading block ... while I am working with our regular reading group she helps mostly our writers. She helps keep my room stable." 

Snellenberger said good help is hard to find and Roebke knows right where to pick up and help when she comes in.  

"It’s really nice because in a small Catholic school you don’t have a lot of extra support so for her to volunteer her time and come in and work with the kids is amazing," she said. "And the kids love her."

Gabriella Selby, one of Snellenberger’s students said she likes working with Roebke "a lot." 

"She helps me with words," Selby said. "She is very nice and kind."

Roebke volunteered at Longcoy Elementary School for eight years prior to coming to St. Patrick School. She said the teacher she worked with retired. One of the teachers at St. Patrick whom she had met at Longcoy invited her to volunteer at St. Patrick School. She also worked as a school secretary for 20 years before retiring. 

While she may not have been a school teacher, Roebke has taught Sunday school at University Parish Newman Center, where she attends church. Teaching also runs in her family as her son, John Roebke is a band director at Kent’s Theodore Roosevelt High School. She said her daughter is also a teacher in New Mexico. 

Roebke said she finds volunteering at St. Patrick School rewarding and exciting. 

"The kids are fun and I learn interesting things from them," Roebke said. "It keeps me current on what kids that age do because I am not around them otherwise. I just enjoy talking and listening to them. They just give me energy and make me very happy."

Roebke also volunteers for hospice, which she said is not always happy work. She added by working with kids is the other side of the coin for her. 

"It really helps me keep my spirits up to work with them when I sometimes don’t have pleasant experiences with hospice," she said. "I get up on Wednesday mornings and I am excited because that’s the day I get to come spend with the kids. I think they look forward to seeing me too and that makes me happy."

She said she encourages people who are looking for something to do in the community to volunteer at a school. 

"I know it’s a big help to the teachers to have someone come in and just help out," Roebke said.