I recently retired and started volunteering with SMART Reading. Since I have been an adult, I have volunteered with more organizations than I can count and I can definitely say that this volunteer work is the MOST FUN of any volunteer work I have done! Some of my volunteer work has been enjoyable and all of it has been worthwhile, but this is the most fun! You are basically forming a friendship with a kid in order to share your excitement about reading with them. One hour a week is all it takes to make a big difference in a couple of kids' lives.
I have volunteered with SMART for ten years, five years as a reader and five as a site coordinator. This is a great program! Each child reads twice a week for 30 minutes per session. Once a month the children get to choose 2 books to keep. Volunteers read for an hour with the same two children for 30 minutes each, all year. It is so rewarding to see these kids grow as readers and people. This is a fabulous literacy program but it is also a mentorship, relationship building program. I have seen kids walk into our room having a rough day and 30 minutes later they leave with a smile on their face. Good times!
I love being a reader and volunteer because it allows me to give to my community without giving a ton a time. Plus seeing my kiddos engage in reading is always heartwarming. And I like how organized everything is!
In 20 years as a volunteer reader I saw first-hand what a difference SMART makes in the lives of the student readers. Just 2 hours per week is a huge boost in their success at learning this critical skill. SMART is an outstanding organization helping thousands of children every year.
I've worked with SMART on communications projects and find their staff to be top-notch and their commitment to their mission unwavering. They are organized, treat their volunteers well and make a difference in communities around the state. Thanks, SMART!
After my first year of reading I can't wait to start again! I think think this program really makes a difference to the kids. The site coordinator ran it very well. I had a very positive experience.
I have been a SMART volunteer for 13 years at the same elementary school in East Portland. I love this program! Nothing better than an excited child coming through the door, a smile on their face, marching over to the books to select the day's choice & settling in beside you to read it. When I first started, I was amazed, and sad, at how many children weren't read to at home and/or had no or few books at home. We make a difference and, yes, it does take a Village....these children are our future! Get Involved, Become A Volunteer!
I was a SMART reader for the first time during the 2015-2016 school year and looked forward to it every week. I enjoyed seeing their confidence grow in regards to reading and pronunciation. But mostly I loved seeing their curiosity get bigger as they learned that books have so much to offer.
I have been a SMART reader for nearly a decade. It is the highlight of my week to spend an hour with two young aspiring readers and to watch their love of and confidence in reading grow. SMART has been serving children throughout Oregon for 25 years and served over 10,000 children last year alone.
I have been a SMART volunteer in Oregon for 5 years and love it! It's so enjoyable for students as well as the volunteers. As a volunteer, you can see the progress of the kids on a week to week basis. It's so enjoyable remaining friends with the kids that you've read with years ago - they will always remember that you were their SMART reader. SMART is one of the best nonprofit organizations I've had the privilege of being involved with. If you enjoy working with kids (preschool - 2nd grade), I highly recommend that you consider volunteering for SMART.
It was so much fun being a reading mentor with the Oregon SMART program. It was great to see how excited students would be for their reading time! I only wish I had known about the program sooner. I volunteered during my last two quarters at the U of O and would have loved to help more kids discover the joy of reading.