Centraide is looking for volunteers for the reading program


Oct. 10—Centraide is looking for volunteers to read to elementary students this fall as part of its annual reading adventure.

“This fall we need volunteers to read with elementary students at Lindbergh, Edison and Hosea elementary schools, and then in the spring (we) can also offer this program in several other elementary schools,” Jodi said. Flurry, director of community investment at United Way.

Flurry said the program was created in 2011 to help with summer reading loss.

“Now we’re launching our school version of United Way Reading Adventure, which we’ve partnered with St. Joseph School District for probably about eight or nine years,” Flurry said.

Volunteers are sought from November to December. Reading sessions last one hour and volunteers can sign up to read as much or as little as they want.

“For our school version, since it’s during the school day, not all of our volunteers are in high school, and then it goes from middle schoolers to retirees and everyone in between,” Flurry said. “Sometimes it’s a retiree or a stay-at-home parent who comes to volunteer. Sometimes it’s a banker or a lawyer, anyone who wants to come read and share some of their time.”

Flurry highlighted the impact of these programs on students.

“Just the excitement on the kids’ faces and the way they’re paying attention and listening and trying to read,” Flurry said. “You are making a difference with these kids and they look forward to it every week.”

Brett Esely, director of athletic development and commission at the Convention & Visitors Bureau, said he started volunteering with the reading program for several reasons.

“I think it’s important to get involved in the community to give back and I’ve always seen United Way as a great way to do that,” Esely said. “Knowing how essential it was for the development of my children to read 20 minutes a day, to read books, to learn to read books of chapters and to see that in my home, I understand how important it is district-wide.”

Esely said the program had a big impact on many students.

“It helps if you can volunteer at the same school week after week because you build a relationship with the kids,” Esely said. “Whether you think it or not, they look up to you, no matter what your job, these kids think you’re a rock star.”

One of the most rewarding parts of volunteering is watching children’s learning grow, Esely said.

“You have some that are really good readers and you have some that are still in development,” Esely said. “Whether you’re reading with them or helping them read, it has an impact. That hour you spend with them, you get to see them grow, which is really neat.”

Due to the pandemic, this is the first year the reading programs will be back since 2020.

“We hope our volunteers will return to read this fall, but we are always open to bringing new people into the program as it is an easy way to volunteer and you can really see the impact immediately,” said said Flurry. .

Flurry said one of the reasons the programs continue each year is because of the response from schools.

“When we reached out to schools to see if they would be interested in a new partnership, teachers said, ‘Yeah, we want to bring this program back,'” Flurry said. “So we are very happy to be able to offer this program again.”

In addition to looking for volunteers, Centraide also collects book donations.

“Through the United Way Reading Adventure, along with other programs, we’re working to build home libraries,” Flurry said. “If you have books that your own kids may have outgrown and you’re wondering what you can do with them, you can call United Way and donate some gently used books. We distribute them to children in different ways. they can build home libraries.”

Visit the United Way website at www.stjosephunitedway.org for more information on how to participate in the program.


Comments are closed.