Mentors Make a Difference

Early childhood intervention provides a tremendous impact to instill a child’s love for reading, and our ReadingPals volunteers dedicate about one hour per week at local schools. One of our ReadingPals mentors who is making a world of impact in the lives of children is Brendan McNulty — a volunteer at Gulfstream Academy in Hallandale Beach.

“I have been a volunteer in community initiatives my entire life. My parents made me aware of how important it is to help others in need, especially children and the elderly, and the benefits to me are incredible, specifically the personal fulfillment,” says Brendan.

“I learned about ReadingPals when I volunteered for Mobile School Pantry, and while at MSP, I met a woman who worked at United Way of Broward County. She told me about this opportunity to become a mentor at ReadingPals, and I jumped on it. What I learned about ReadingPals inspired me. I always want to helps kids with food or education, and ReadingPals targets the schools and the kids who need the most assistance.”

Brendan is one of nearly 2,000 mentors who have participated in the ReadingPals program since its inception in 2012.

“I have been a volunteer since January 2021, and it has been an awesome experience. The kids always are eager and excited to get started, and we read for 30 minutes — it’s about as much as their attention will last! Then we do puzzles, games, flash cards, drawing boards and questions about words and definitions, and the aim is to stimulate their minds through all kinds of interactive activities,” says Brendan.

“It is so meaningful to know that I am helping children, seeing improvements and making education fun. Last year I worked with a student named Devyn, who was age 7 then, and this year I am working in tandem with Cataleya, age 8, and Aden, age 8.”

“When I returned to Gulfstream Academy this year to help the new students, I saw Devyn in the hallway, and I thought he wouldn’t remember me. And he ran to me, he gave me a hug, and he proudly told me that he still is reading every day. His recognizing me gave me a sense that what I am doing is making a big difference.”

“Cataleya and Aden have told me that they like coming here, that they love the games and the books we read. They are energetic, and it’s clear they are motivated to learn. I think their motivation comes from the individual support that a ReadingPal mentor can give.”

“All of the kids have bright personalities and lots of energies and talents that they want to shine. And it means so much to me that I can be a part of their excitement and joy about education.”

You like Brendan can change a child’s life. With one hour per week for 25 weeks during a semester, you can help children on their path to literacy and increase their reading scores.

Mentors get to choose which school they volunteer and which day of the week works best for their schedule. Plus ReadingPals mentors receive training and ongoing support.

Once signed up through United Way of Broward County, volunteers are connected with a coordinator who will provide details about participating schools near you, available times, background screenings, trainings and curriculum.

Get started or learn more about becoming ReadingPals volunteer by clicking here.

By becoming a ReadingPal, you can change the life of a child — forever!