When HISD announced its need for 1,500 volunteers on Sept. 4, the greater-Houston community responded with an outpouring of support. By Sept. 16, more than 250 caring citizens had already signed up to be mentors to first-graders through the district’s Read Houston Read program, but many others are still needed.
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To assist the district in its quest for volunteers, HISD’s online partner, Innovations for Learning (IFL), hosted a breakfast for dozens of local businesses at the law firm of Vinson & Elkins on Sept. 16. The event served both to alert business professionals to the opportunities still available through Read Houston Read and to cultivate volunteers from within the corporate world.
“A lot of these companies already have strong community service components in place, with large groups of employees who volunteer regularly,” said Volunteers in Public Schools Manager Tina Thompson. “Reaching out to those organizations seemed like a natural way to build new relationships and get some really strong mentors quickly.”
IFL’s TutorMate© program, which allows mentors to work with students online without ever leaving their offices or homes, is already being used by a number of other large urban school districts, including Broward County Public Schools (Fla.), Denver Public Schools, and Detroit Public Schools.
The first training session for Read Houston Read volunteers starts Sept. 26. For more information, or to become a volunteer, please visit www.HoustonISD.org/ReadHoustonRead.