By Mamta Lulla

Dr. Rick Milton is an ordinary man, who goes to work every day, looks forward to his lunch break and goes home after he finishes.

But between all that — he does something extraordinary.

Milton, who works at W.G. Milton Associates: Optometrist in Spruce Grove, devotes his time to local students.

He started volunteering at local schools starting with about three days a week – Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays during lunch time. Over time his volunteer hours went up. Today, he volunteers five days a week including lunch time and often before going to work.

During lunch between 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., he helps out teachers with projects, with math and science courses.

He attends Millgrove School, Greystone Centennial Middle School and Prescott Learning Centre. He works with students in Grades 4, 6, 7, 8 and 9.

“Whatever the need is, whatever the students need, whether they are struggling or excelling,” said Milton.

Cheryl Korte, a teacher at Millgrove, said Milton has volunteered about three days a week with her Grade 4 class for the past three years.

“Dr. Milton is an incredible volunteer in our school communities and has made big differences in many lives,” she said.

Milton remembers his time in school. He said he would’ve liked someone just like him when he was in school to help him with whatever he struggled with.

“In early grades, I didn’t do very well in school and I didn’t have someone like me,” he said.

The 59-year-old believes people have knowledge about something or the other, and they should use that knowledge to give back to the community. That’s one of the reasons why Milton started volunteering.

He also does it to give back to the government.

“The government has subsidized our school system and it’s my way of giving thanks to them,” he said.

Milton believes our school systems can use volunteers — from helping students perform better to keeping schools organized and running efficiently.

What inspires him to volunteer his time, day in and day out? The joy he receives by inspiring the next generation.

“To help them along the way, to just be with them – they are so appreciative of the help they receive,” he said.

He especially enjoys the “oh I get it moment” from students when he introduces a new math or science concept to students and when they first understand what Milton is teaching them.