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Aurora

Involvement in READS program rewarding for all



VOLUNTEER YOUR TIME - Elementary schools in the Lake Geneva Area (Joint 1) Elementary School District, including Eastview, Central Denison and Star Center elementary schools are looking for volunteers to be involved in the Reading Enrichment and Developmental Success program for the 2010-11 school year. In the READS program, volunteer mentors assist school district students who struggle with language arts. Students spend time each week on those lessons working with a mentor. Each mentor works one day a week for one hour with a student. Eastview, Central-Denison and Star Center elementary schools each have morning READS sessions, running from about 8 to 9 a.m., while afternoon sessions are offered at Central-Denison from 2:50 to 3:20 p.m. The READS program operates Monday through Thursday. Volunteers may choose the day that best fits their schedules. The program starts later this month, but volunteers can sign up after the first couple weeks of the program. To volunteer for the program, contact READS coordinator Terri Harig at 348-4000, ext. 4011.
September 22, 2010 | 07:49 AM
Giving back is an important aspect of being a positive member of the community. Even more, it's all of our responsibilities to help make our home a better place to live, work and raise families.

The Lake Geneva Schools Reading Enrichment and Developmental Success is one way to give back to the community and children of the area. READS is a program that helps students improve reading and writing skills outside of their regular classroom.

For those of us in the print media, helping work with students in a program that focuses on reading, writing and comprehension is of the utmost importance. If people can't read and comprehend, our writing has no meaning, no impact. Future generations unable to understand what has happened in our past and what is happening today in our world and smaller communities could result in disaster. That's why we need to do everything we can for our future generations.

But, working with the children in the Lake Geneva program is more than just about helping them improve their reading and verbal skills. The READS program calls us "mentors," and, at first, I wasn't so sure about that. But, after being involved, I believe that is an accurate description.

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Most of the time, a mentor in the program is paired up with the same student each week. For a half-hour, the mentor has the chance to get to know the kids by working with them through reading, interacting, word games and art projects.

I find that aspect of the program challenging, interesting and rewarding. The kids are great. Sometimes they can be a handful, but most of the time, they are a lot of fun to work with. Most of the time, they work hard and are learning. From the first week to the last week of READS, as a mentor, you can see the improvement of every one of the children. Their reading gets faster, they know more and bigger words and their writing and interpersonal skills improve.

It's not rare to have a very quiet child at the start of the year and, by the end, you can't stop them from telling you about what they're doing in school, what they do at home or where they're going during their summer vacation.

And, it's very rewarding to know that you had a part in helping that student improve their reading and writing while also helping them feel more comfortable speaking with adults.

Then, there are the other rewards.

Involvement with children helps keep you young. They are smart and funny. Generally, they want to learn.

Mentors are there to help them realize we care about them and that there are a lot of people who want to see them succeed. They need to know that parents, teachers, administrators and staff aren't the only ones who care about how they are doing in school.

When mentors care, it shows the entire community cares. That is what can make a difference in a child's life.

Seiser is the editor of the

Regional News.

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