April 20, 2016
Empowering Males of Color cadets become mentors to Reading Partners students
This school year, Reading Partners Washington, DC welcomed DC Mayor Muriel Bowser as a new reading partner. News of her commitment came during the Empowering Males of Color (EMOC) Fall Mentor Kick-off at Howard University this past September, where Reading Partners joined community partners in celebrating the launch of the exciting 500 for 500 initiative. A group of DC police cadets were also acknowledged as new mentors that evening, and have since become dedicated reading partners at Seaton Elementary School and Malcolm X Elementary School.
Welcoming the police cadets to the reading centers this fall was very exciting for Reading Partners DC, and even more exciting for our students. The cadets are in their first year of training to be DC police officers, are volunteering their time with Reading Partners to build a connection with the DC community, and serve as mentors to high-need students.
As an organization engaging over 1,000 community volunteers to serve students in DC schools, a primary goal at Reading Partners DC is to inspire community action and involvement through volunteerism — working toward a collective community goal of building increased literacy skills for local students. Having the support of public servants, such as the cadets, has deepened the pool of volunteers and created a greater sense of community connection throughout the District.
Two Seaton Elementary School cadets, Darwin Argueta and Rayshawn Williams, shared about their experience as reading partners thus far. They spoke about having a lot of fun as volunteer tutors, and that they enjoy being seen as role models by their students. When asked if being a reading partner has affected how they act as a cadet, one remarked, “I’ve always been child friendly, but Reading Partners has helped me always say hello [to people] with my uniform both on and off, and always try be nice to everyone.”
Another expressed, “Even if I’m not in a cadet program anymore, and move on through life, I would still want to participate and volunteer through the year.”
Reading Partners DC is looking forward to engaging even more EMOC volunteers next school year as they expand their program to serve students in more than 20 DC schools.