As the 2016-17 school year approaches, so does the fourth year for United Way of Broward County’s ReadingPals initiative. The volunteer-driven program is seeking engaged community members willing to donate one hour per week for 25 weeks to read to an individual student and make a lasting difference in the lives of our local children.
The need for volunteers is especially great for those who live or work in the area surrounding Pompano Beach Elementary School, which is expanding its number of volunteers from 10 in 2015-16 to 30 in 2016-17. The A.D. Henderson Foundation has sponsored the expansion, which will now provide one-on-one reading support to 50 elementary students.
ReadingPals connects volunteer tutors with students Pre-K through 3rd grade to generate a lifetime love of the written word and to improve reading and comprehension skills to ensure children are reading at grade level by the end of 3rd grade.
During the past school year, more than 250 volunteers cumulatively contributed more than 5,500 hours to the ReadingPals program and helped more than 300 students across Broward County.
“The ReadingPals expansion in Pompano Beach Elementary and the addition of brand new schools offering ReadingPals is a testament to the proven success the program, both inside and outside of the classroom. These children are not only learning to read, but they are learning that they actually love reading. They are becoming more confident, more social and more eager to get to school,” said Kathleen Cannon, president and CEO of United Way of Broward County.
ReadingPals experienced tremendous growth since its inception in 2012. More than 1,000 students have been impacted in total. Last year, ReadingPals gave away more than 8,500 books for students to begin building home libraries.
ReadingPals community partners include Children’s Movement of Florida, Broward County Public Schools, Broward County Public Schools Youth Mentoring Program, A.D. Henderson Foundation and Carol and Barney Barnett.
United Way of Broward County is currently seeking volunteers for the 2016-17 school year. To become a volunteer, please contact Adriana LeCorgne at 954-453-3742 or readingpals@UnitedWayBroward.org.