It was by far the most rewarding part of my day. It felt really good to pass on the love of reading to a young student. Plus the people in the program and running the program were fantastic.
Weekly a group of volunteers from my business walk/drive to the nearby elementary school and spend our lunch reading with elementary school students who are reading below their grade level. Everybody wins is a great non-profit that does a fantastic job organizing the volunteering - they organize everything with the school, pick and drop off students in their classroom, and provide books for reading.
I was brought to this organization through AmeriCorps and immediately found a connection to their mission. Reading, from childhood to now, has played an integral role in my life by providing me with hours of exploration in worlds only accessible in my head and experiences had vicariously through my "friends" in the books I read. I was one of the lucky few who was read to constantly as a child and find it disturbing that among under resourced students, the students come to school with an average of less that 25 hours of reading time. I find myself feeling for those families that are so busy striving to make ends meet they can't afford the time to sit and read purely for the joy of reading. I find myself wanting to support efforts to instill in children the importance of reading and the benefits it can bring. This effort is called Everybody Wins!
Everybody Wins! lives out their name everyday. Companies win by having an opportunity to make a direct impact in their communities. Schools win by having additional reading focus during the school day, without pulling the children out of class. Kids win by getting that additional reading time, including exposure to materials or topics perhaps they wouldn't have picked for themselves. And, volunteers win by having a structured and manageable way to make a difference in the life of a child. I am a mom of two and work full time - I see my time with Everybody Wins! as a great investment. In addition, having the chance to work with the same child for consecutive school years really lets me see how my reading buddy has grown and improved his reading and comprehension skills.
I am an honorary board member for this organization. The character of my website MrsP.com also promotes reading and books. Working with Everybody Wins! USA we have partnered together to have Mrs. P read to large groups of kids at schools in N.Y. and L.A. and provide bookmarks and books for the school libraries. We also worked together to create a Public Service Announcement to promote the message and value of reading to a child. We continue to work together on various social networking campaigns that showcase the importance of literacy. Everybody Wins! USA are amazing partners and a true joy to work with. They are very creative and very collaborative.