Reading to Kids

Rating: 4.94 stars   16 reviews

Issues: Education, Philanthropy

Location: 1600 Sawtelle Blvd., Suite 210 Los Angeles CA 90025 USA

Mission: Reading to Kids is a grassroots organization dedicated to inspiring underserved children with a love of reading, thereby enriching their lives and opportunities for future success. Reading to Kids organizes monthly reading clubs on the second Saturday of each month at elementary schools in the downtown Los Angeles area. Pairs of volunteer readers read to small groups of elementary school children in a fun environment. The reading clubs run from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Teachers provide guidance throughout the morning. To volunteer at our next reading clubs, please visit www.readingtokids.org where you’ll need to register and RSVP. For more information, please feel free to e-mail us at info@readingtokids.org or call (310) 479-7455.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I volunteer monthly and have a great experience with the other volunteers as well as the kids. It's so simple, but can make a big difference in their life, plus the kids get to bring home a book each month.

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Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Rating: 5 stars  

I have been a Reading to Kids volunteer for over seven years. Reading to Kids is an organization dedicated to giving under-served children a love of reading. On the second Saturday of every month adult volunteers read to elementary school children and work on book-related crafts with them; the organization holds a brief orientation for new volunteers the same morning of the reading clubs. Volunteers sign-up online and have to complete a quick one-time online application. All volunteers are assigned a partner (you can also request a partner if one of you has volunteered at least once) and you have some time for you(s) to plan your time with the students. Almost everything in this organization is based on volunteering and people making small sacrifices for the greater good. Adult volunteers not only read to the children, but after a few times they can be involved in almost every aspect of the organization: writing grants, organizing fundraising events, such as silent auctions, marketing the organization, maintaining the website, and recruiting volunteers. The volunteers that are unable to donate their time to help run Reading to Kids are able to read to the students only when the volunteers can spare the time, i.e. they are not beholden to be there every month. A natural outcome of this flexibility is the professional diversity among volunteers. Reading to Kids volunteers include teachers, chefs, doctors, (public and private sector) lawyers, business professionals, real estate investors, and college and graduate students; I am an engineer and entrepreneur. Two other groups of people also volunteer to give the students a love of reading. School teachers and administrators commit their time to help run operations during the reading clubs and also help promote the program to students and their parents. The last group is the students and their families. No student is forced to be in the program, at least by no one outside their family. Though the students are given free prize books for attending, the number of students that attend month after month is a testament to the joy the students receive from the activities. I am a volunteer reader and I also help with preparing prizes for students which are raffled-off a couple of times a year. I also had volunteer roles as a Site Coordinator (someone who helps run operations at the reading clubs, in lieu of reading certain months) and a member of Strategic Planning Committee. Given that I am an engineer in a large corporation Reading to Kids allows me, and other volunteers, the ability to see the direct fruits of their labor and the joy on the customers' [students'] faces. Also, I have been able to take on leadership roles and partake in the building and running of an organization. The only downside I have experienced during the reading clubs is that once in a blue moon I am assigned a partner where our thoughts on how best to interact with the students are very out of sync. In terms of being an active volunteer, it can feel like a job sometimes, depending on your role, and it's been frustrating to see the slow growth in the last several years, though part of the holdup is the economy. For potential volunteers I recommend volunteering at least twice to see before saying you will volunteer on a more regular basis. For potential donors/investors, I think it is a testament that many volunteers dedicate extra time to run the organization and also directly help give under-served children a love of reading.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my role as a volunteer.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

seeing the students unable to control their excitement to see how a book ends and/or wanting to emulate some of the book's activities, e.g. doing a certain dance.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

personal and diverse (ethnically and career-wise).

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

hire more staff, rent a slightly larger facility, and expand smartly.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-7-01

Rating: 5 stars  

If someone would have told me that being layed-off from my job could be so rewarding I would have told them that they were out of their minds. But it is true. For me that reward is having the opportunity of being a part of "Reading to Kids" Reading to Kids simply put is an amazing and inspirational organization. An organization that is dedicated to inspiring underserved children with a love of reading thereby enriching their lives and opportunities for future success. But the effect of this program is not just felt by the kids. It's effect is felt by the volunteers, the parents, and the teachers. I have since found a new job and my time is not as free as it was when I was unemployed but I have found that I have become more involved with the organization because IT WORKS. It works at all levels and is exciting to see what the program can do for the kids.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

seeing the same kids coming back month after month.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

find a way to get more funding for the program, so that the program could be offered to more schools.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the dedication of the staff.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

friendly, organized and very helpful.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

reach out to more people.

Ways to make it better...

I would not change anything that I have experienced.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

lack of funding.

One thing I'd also say is that...

THANK YOU especially to the staff. There are only a very few staff members but they are always very professional and do a GREAT job.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-9-01

Rating: 5 stars  

I somehow got roped into this five years ago, thinking it would be a good way to meet girls and appear selfless. Then it turned out that I really am selfless! And this group was the perfect way to actualize my selflessness. In addition to being one of the easiest groups to volunteer with, I've found that I love the kids and the results are real. Everything is organized from the ground up, and we all work together to improve the organization and help our city.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

As well as feeling needed and worthwhile, I see the kids' faces light up when they discover a book that grabs their interest.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-9-01

Rating: 5 stars  

Reading to Kids is one of the most well-organized volunteer activities. The staff and volunteer coordinators take very good care of their volunteers. This makes volunteers able to focus on the kids and really enjoy their time.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

seeing children really enjoy the experience and learn and practice new words.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-8-01

Rating: 5 stars  

I adore Reading To Kids. Having lived in LA for a few years now, I searched a long time to find an organization that seemed worthwhile and could fit into my schedule. Initially, those that did also wanted a hefty volunteer fee. Then I found R2K. The volunteer coordinators are amazing - so dedicated and friendly. The operation runs so smoothly, and I love meeting the other volunteers as well. Of course, though, the best part is the kids. They are so fun and energetic! Volunteering for Reading To Kids is always the highlight of my month. Two huge thumbs up!

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

The joy I see in the children's faces and their desire to learn. These kids want to be engaged and stimulated. This organization give them that.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

The collective joy it brings both the volunteers and children.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Amazing people. Fun, friendly and ready to give their time and energy to a worthy cause.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Get some awesome craft supplies! (And maybe some more yummy breakfast items.)

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-8-01

Rating: 5 stars  

I really love the Reading to Kids Organization. This is a wonderful program that is currently in 9 'underserved' schools in the LA area. Volunteers read to kids in grades K-5, work on language skills, do a craft, and every single child goes home with a book. The timing is perfect and consistent, the 2nd Saturday of every month, and I appreciate that. They get hundreds of children to come in and, here's the secret, fulfill my life! I never cease to be amazed at the children, the volunteers and the experience. Truly, I would pay them for the opportunity just to be able to do this!

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I've seen children of all ages do amazing things--I watched a 4th grader grasp the concept of measuring the earths in degrees and saw her divide 1/2 to 1/4 to 1/8 to 1/16, etc in a heartbeat. Examples like this every week!

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-8-01

Rating: 5 stars  

I have been involved with Reading to Kids for almost three years now and it has been an incredibly rewarding experience. It is a very easy way to fit volunteering into my busy schedule since it is only a few hours once a month on Saturday mornings. It is truly inspiring to see how these kids get excited about reading and to see other volunteers in Los Angeles getting to know one another. I highly recommend R2Ks for anyone in the LA-area.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

feeling like I'm helping my community out. I have also brought two dear friends with me and it has enriched our relationship to be able to share this experience.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-9-01

Rating: 5 stars  

A friend told me about Reading to Kids about 6 years ago and it sounded like a great, low commitment way to get involved with the community. Of course, once I attended my first reading club and experienced the magic of inspiring LA's youth, I was hooked. Several friends have become volunteers because of my love for the organization. My involvement has increased over the years because I have personally seen the impact this group makes.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

There's nothing more gratifying than the look on a child's face when you've read them a story they've enjoyed, and they get excited about the book they are going home with to continue reading on their own time.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

expand to more schools in order to inspire more children!

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

being a part of something that improves the community. Also, hearing from the kids that they have had a great time and can't wait for the next month's reading club.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

extremely dedicated and excited to be a part of Reading to Kids. As an organization with only two staff members, the volunteers are so important to the success of the programs.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

expand the program into more schools; improve the amenities available at the office to help volunteers and staff work even more efficiently; provide an unlimited supply of books and craft materials for the kids during reading clubs; and so much more!

Ways to make it better...

I had known about Reading to Kids sooner and been involved longer!

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

lack of funds and under staffing (which basically go hand in hand). The organization is really good at "working with what it is" but would be so much greater if it had more, and as a small organization, the competition for funding is really steep.

One thing I'd also say is that...

Reading to Kids is an amazing community driven organization. It not only enriches the lives of the kids, but also brings together the volunteers and offers something special that keeps people coming back, and continues to attract new volunteers.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-9-01

Rating: 5 stars  

I first became aware of Reading to Kids several years ago when they applied for a grant from an organization I was involved with. I'd been sent to do a review and report back. I was impressed to see a couple hundred students dressed in their school t-shirts or good school clothes coming out to a reading event on a Saturday morning. When I was their age, I was home watching cartoons on Saturday morning. The group has since grown from two elementary schools in the downtown Pico/Union area, to eight schools. Volunteer slots for this organization fill up quickly because it is such a fun and rewarding way to spend a few hours a month. We read, do arts and crafts, and most importantly, have conversations with the children to improve their English language skills. If they had additional funding, Reading to Kids could take advantage of their large volunteer pool and spread this excellent program to more elementary schools.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

It's been a joy to be a part of this organization as it has grown from two schools to eight. I've been able to recruit volunteers from my company and to help steer corporate donations their way.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I'd like to see continued growth of the program, which is very well-organized with mostly volunteer labor. Some months, I haven't been able to volunteer because the 500+ volunteer slots have been quickly filled.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Spending Saturday mornings with the third or fourth graders that I read to. They are curious, engaged and look forward to coming back every month. I leave there feeling uplifted and grateful that I am able to contribute to their reading development.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Committed volunteers and staff who are always interested in gaining feedback from volunteers on any ways that they can improve the experience for everyone. It is truly a labor of love.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Increase the number of schools where this program could be offered. They don't seem to have any problem getting the volunteers to staff the school reading clubs, but it does take money to be able to grow the program.

Ways to make it better...

Ben Affleck were my reading partner. Seriously, this group is so well-organized that I don't see how they could improve on the current formula.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

Funding. It costs money to provide prize books for the students to take home each month, and the hardcover books to be read at the Reading Clubs and later donated to the school libraries.

One thing I'd also say is that...

I've volunteered with many organizations throughout the greater Los Angeles area through my corporate volunteer program. Reading to Kids is undoubtedly the best one that I have worked with.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-7-01

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