Kathryn Schleich, Wilder volunteer and donor

Supporting School Success:  The Achievement of a Lifetime


Finding the right volunteer opportunity is like finding the right job, says Kathryn Schleich, a volunteer and donor who supports school success efforts at Wilder. It can take a while to find a good fit, but the results are worthwhile.

Kathryn, whose interest in school success stems from a former career as a community college instructor, had tried other volunteer opportunities before she reached out to Wilder in late 2013 to help with an annual backpack and school supply drive. Kathryn became a driving force behind the initiative, which relies on donors and volunteers to collect and fill backpacks for hundreds of children served by Wilder.

Her influence quickly spread beyond the school supply drive. Kathryn writes an email newsletter for Wilder volunteers and researches vendors for the organization who are women, minorities, veterans, members of the GLBTQI community or people who experience disabilities. She assists with major events, including Wilder Block Party and Ordinary Magic.

“I believe in Wilder’s values and the mission,” Kathryn says. “The work that I have done here feels more fulfilling than any paid job I ever could have done.”

After visiting Wilder’s Achievement Plus program in John A. Johnson Elementary School, Kathryn was inspired to create an endowment to support school success. “For me, this is the most important thing I have ever done as a person,” Kathryn says. “Committing to this will be the achievement of my lifetime.”

Photo: Kathryn Schleich (third from right) celebrates with family and friends after receiving the 2017 Sandy Kiernat Community Service Award.