Minneapolis School District Honors Volunteers
The B.J. Reed Award
Created in 1988, the B.J. Reed Award recognizes the work of volunteers in the Minneapolis Schools. The B.J. Reed Award was named in honor of Batty Jane Reed who founded the Community Resource Volunteer Program in 1965. B.J. Reed was a Minneapolis School educator who went on to be an author, poet and mentor. Originally the Community Resource Volunteer Program was intended to give entertainers, craftspeople, professionals, civic leaders and other working adults the opportunity to share their time and skills by becoming a part of the school curriculum giving classroom presentations. The CRV Program later expanded its focus and became the WISE Resource Volunteer Program. This program aims to have volunteers engaged in various functions across the Minneapolis Schools. B.J. Reed retired in 1981 but continued to be an integral part of the WISE Resource Volunteer Program until her death in 1995. The B.J. Reed Award is given annually to someone who has made outstanding contributions to Minneapolis students and the community.
Lawrence Looking Elk the 2006 B.J. Reed Award Recipient
The Sullivan Elementary School, one Minneapolis School, has gained a great deal from the volunteer work of Mr. Lawrence Looking Elk. Lawrence Looking Elk has become an almost permanent member of the Sullivan School community. The work he does at the school includes, but is certainly not limited to, volunteering in the Media Center, out on the playground during recess and in the lunchroom during breakfast and lunch. Lawrence Looking Elk has established a bond with the parents, teachers and students at Sullivan School. The parents of the school have been overwhelmed by their children love and devotion to Lawrence Looking Elk, who has developed the student’s trust in him based on his kind, gentle and understanding approach toward them. Lawrence Looking Elk has worked closely with the student’s in Sandy Chapman’s classroom at the Sullivan School. Ms. Chapman attributes many of the scholastic gains her students have made to Lawrence Looking Elk and his work in the classroom. Lawrence Looking Elk has volunteered in the Sullivan Elementary School for three years and donated nearly 3100 hours of his time.
Lawrence Looking Elk is active in other ways in the Minneapolis Schools. He volunteers with many organizations including the Parent Committee for Indian Education, is Chairman of the Indian Education Board, and South High School Site Council (PUSH). In addition to volunteer work with these groups, he vigorously works to raise funds for activities for Native American Students. Lawrence Looking Elk’s experience from being in the schools and classrooms gives him the insight to know what changes are needed and he has the tenacity to work for the changes in the Minneapolis Schools that benefits all students. Lawrence Looking Elk received the B.J. Reed Award at June 13th meeting of the Minneapolis Board of Education. Last month, Looking Elk was also honored by his colleagues and friends at the Volunteer Recognition Luncheon held at St. Mary’s Greek Orthodox Church in Minneapolis.