Education Stories of Impact

Book Mentor Profile: Nikki Guthridge


Nikki Guthridge is volunteer for Illinois Public Media's Book Mentor Project, and also organizes all of PNC's volunteer efforts at Head Start. Keep reading to find out what she loves about it.

How did you become a Book Mentor?

I’m the manager at the Main & Walnut branch PNC. Our local PNC branch adopted the Savoy Head Start site for volunteer activities and being a book mentor is one of them. Our volunteer hours go towards getting PNC grants for Head Start in Savoy.

What do you enjoy about reading to the kids on Book Mentor days?

I’ve always liked working with kids. Even though I ended up majoring in business management, I had originally wanted to be a teacher from the time I was in first grade. I love watching the kids’ reactions to the book you are reading. You can see the wheels turning the whole time.

You’ve been organizing PNC’s volunteer efforts at Head Start in addition to volunteering yourself. How has volunteering as Book Mentor helped you and your employees at PNC?

You get to know people on a different level outside the office. My team is just more cohesive now. Whenever we go to read to the kids, everyone comes back so happy. They are just innocent little people. It’s almost like you forget everything else when you go.

What was your favorite book as a child?

Goldilocks and the Three Bears—I remember my parents reading it to me.

What is your favorite book you’ve read to the Book Mentor kids?

Dinosaur Dance. The kids loved it because the activity was to stomp around like a dinosaur. They got to move around and they had their own way of interpreting that dance.

PNC, BankChampaign, Amdocs, McGladrey and Meyer Capel all have employees who participate in the Book Mentor Project, along with community volunteers. They visit early childhood classrooms once a month to share a book and do an activity with the children. PNC supported the Book Mentor Project with a three-year $90,000 grant.