Volunteers needed to read with first-graders for 30 to 60 minutes per week
It’s National Volunteer Week, and HISD would like to recognize and encourage the many people who volunteer their time with the district. Volunteers are an integral part of the HISD family who share the common goal of wanting to help students succeed.
“I heard about the volunteer program on TV and thought, ‘I can get out of the house and do something worthwhile,’” said Loretha Fore, a retired teacher who is now an HISD volunteer at Southmayd Elementary School. “We have so much to give, especially retired people. We’re going out to lunch and getting together with friends, but this is something we can all do to help students and give back to our communities. You are giving, but also receiving.”
Annually, nearly 31,000 community members apply to volunteer in HISD schools through Volunteers in Public Schools (VIPS). With the launch of even more opportunities, including the district’s Read Houston Read volunteer program, that number is expected to grow.
“Read Houston Read is a great supplement to the district’s Literacy By 3 initiative because it adds another component to it,” said Northline Elementary School Principal Brian Doyle. “For students who are struggling, it provides the one-on-one attention they don’t get in the classroom.”
“The best part of Read Houston Read is the kids,” said Northline volunteer Tia Morgan, who reads with six students. “They are so smart, and the things they come with just amaze me. I am happier when I leave than when I get here.”
Morgan says she has seen noticeable improvement in her students’ reading skills and comprehension, just in the short time she has been working with them.
“Parents as well as the community play a vital role in the success of a school,” said Tina Thompson, the district’s VIPS program administrator. “There are so many reasons to volunteer, but the one I like to share is when a parent said, ‘I don’t volunteer because it makes me feel good; I volunteer because it makes the people I help feel good.’”
“Everyone needs some individual attention and affirmation, and I am glad I can give this,” said volunteer Hazel Potvin. “I feel like a grandmother all over again.”
If you would like to volunteer thirty to sixty minutes each week to read with first-graders, please visit ReadHoustonRead.com to learn more and sign up. If you are interested in other volunteer opportunities at HISD schools, click here to apply.