Reading The Voice at WFYI
Southport High School intern
Southport High School English teacher Mary Jungemann went to a wine and cheese gathering for retired educators a year ago at Teachers’ Treasures, the free store for teachers, in Downtown Indianapolis. It was there that she learned of volunteer opportunities at Indiana Reading and Information Services, known as IRIS, at WFYI.
Mandy Bishop, who was running a booth for IRIS during the gathering, told Jungemann that they needed someone to read The Southsider Voice. Jungemann went to the station for an audition and has been volunteering ever since.
“My degree is in journalism but nothing to do with broadcasting,” she said. “So it’s really been kind of fun to do.”
For 30 minutes every Wednesday, Jungemann sits in a recording booth and reads The Voice. In order to determine what stories she will read each week, Jungemann picks out stories that she believes to be important, whether they are about sports or people. IRIS, a free reading service for anyone with a visual, physical or learning disability, has more than 100 volunteers who read from over 150 publications on a monthly basis.
Public service announcements related to food pantry listings, library services, government services and events for the disabled are also read. Listeners can tune in by using a specially-tuned radio from WFYI or by streaming on the web.
Production coordinator Brian Hunter has been with IRIS for the past two years and helps the volunteers by ensuring that they have something to read.
“People donate their time for a good cause,” Hunter said. “We help coordinate that effort.” Jungemann’s goal in retiring was to volunteer more. She also helps out at food pantries and with third-graders at Indianapolis Public Schools.
In volunteering, Jungemann says her time is well spent. “I just love that I get to use any part of my background and make a difference,” she said. “Which I think our goal in life is.”
She knows that people can be nervous about retiring, but she says to go for it and that there are plenty of things to do. She gets to be a grandmother, volunteer and give back to her community. When needed, Jungemann will sub for English teachers, whether its for three weeks or five, because she gets to get back into the classroom.
Her advice to retirees is to find volunteers opportunities and use their time well. “You get paid for doing fun things and being appreciative,” Jungemann said. “It’s not about a paycheck anymore.”