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volunteering today...

Tuesday, August 9, 2016
...now that schools are getting back into session and kids will soon have worn the 'new' off shoes, clothes and backpacks. The Literacy Alliance will soon gear up to start making assignments with adult tutors going to help pre-school students begin to develop their pre-reading skills. I have volunteered with this program for several years, going into different neighborhood elementary schools.The assignment/obligation is for one day each week for eight weeks, to spend time one-on-one with little people who seem to be struggling with catching on to the basics they need to begin to learn to love reading.

Today, the request for help had a great response. The Alliance gives every third grade student in all the public elementary schools in the county a paperback dictionary to keep. They needed volunteers to meet in the community room, a meeting space in the library to prepare the dictionaries for distribution to the students. Every book needed a sticker placed on the first page, so the students would  know and remember that it was a gift from the Alliance, with additional funding also provided by a local civic group: Columbus Rotary Club. Also a ink pen, packaged together for gifting to each third grader.

There must have been over fifty people there in that room to help put the materials together. I expect the crowd of volunteers gets a little larger each year, now that a local Rotary club has started providing manpower as well as funding. I recall hearing that a number of the readers last year were members of Rotary:  a great source for volunteers in community service organizations. Historically Rotary has been mostly populated with business men, so a really good way to lure men into the tutoring program. Which would provide lots of little people interaction with adult males, and a bit  more opportunity to see guys who are interested and  involved as well as willing to devote an hour a week to help them develop their skills.

You know how with kids 'play' is their work? Exploring their ever-expanding world, experiencing daily routine activities is such a way of learning? Those little things that adults do: tying shoes, measuring ingredients for a recipe, testing the temp. of the bath water, the sequence of helping little people get dressed, how to pour cereal and milk in a bowl. Fine motor skills needed to button a shirt. Manners, social interaction: none of us were born knowing how. We all know that most teachers especially in the lower grades tend to be women, so having more men being willing to devote an hour a week to mentoring, just being there, having a conversation, as well as being reading coaches is a good thing.

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