7Everyday Hero Babs Riley helps Fort Collins students

Volunteer at Zach Elementary School

FORT COLLINS, Colo. -- "In education these days there never seems to be enough funding to provide the type of one on one help that some kids require," said teacher Sharalyn Hansen. 

And that's where volunteers can make a difference. 

"Basically a lot of them look to me like their grandma," said volunteer Babs Riley. 

20 years of 7Everyday Hero stories have taught us the secret to volunteering: The volunteers get as much out of the experience as those who they are helping. 

That is certainly the case in Fort Collins at Zach Elementary School. Babs Riley volunteers there in a first-grade classroom. 

Riley started volunteering at Zach Elementary when her grandchildren were little, and she had so much fun she has kept on giving her time for five years.  

"I am here three days a week. Full days. It is fun. It's work but it's fun," Riley said. 

If ever the first graders need a helping hand and the teacher, Mrs. Hansen is busy, Babs is right there. 

"She helps me with math, she helps me with writing, she helps me read," said Ariella, a first grade student. 

"Well, she helps me when I'm having trouble spelling words," student Kaitlin said. 

"She is always very positive. Those children know they are loved. They know that they can take a risk. It's safe with Mrs. Riley," Hansen said. 

And that means the world to the kids, the teacher, and Babs Riley herself. 

"I enjoy being with people and this has really been an asset for me," Riley said. 

Mitch Jelniker anchors Denver7 in the mornings from 4:30 to 7 a.m. He also features a different 7Everyday Hero each week on Denver7. Follow Mitch on Facebook and Twitter. Nominate a 7Everyday Hero here.

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