Volunteers Needed to Teach Children to Read

An initiative in Emmet and Charlevoix counties is helping kids learn how to read more efficiently.

And more volunteers are needed to help set these kids right for the future.

“I always look at the volunteers coming in, they have the potential to impact a student’s life,” said Central Elementary School Principal Cal Prins.

The United Way Literacy Corps in Charlevoix and Emmet counties is looking for volunteers to teach young kids how to read.

“A lot of the research points to early intervention,” Prins said. “When we can get kids early and provide the support early to get them where they need to be, it just shows that down the road they’re much more successful.”

Central Elementary School in Emmet County had eight volunteers last year.

And is excited to get more this year.

“Whether it’s just the half hour during the week, that potential is there. So they can really be impacting students’ lives during that time.”

While learning in a classroom with others is effective, there is something to be said about one on one tutoring.

“When you have an adult coming in and helping students or a student specifically showing an interest in them and helping them in something that may be challenging to them, it definitely has an impact.”

The goal is to have 150 volunteers in the area schools and libraries.

There are about 115 so far, but they’re mostly in one area.

“Most of our volunteers are located in the Petoskey area and we’d like a larger amount,” said Neil Anderson, the Char-Em United Way Americorps Vista. “We’d like to serve the rest of Emmet County and Charlevoix County.”

If you’re in either area and considering volunteering, there are many kids who could use you…

“I think it comes to just having a heart for kids and having the desire to make an impact and that’s really all you need,” Prins said. “The rest will fall into place.”

Call United Way at 231-487-1006.