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October 20, 2014

The new career pathway: Millennials committed to service

In her role as a site coordinator at Garden Place Academy in the high-need Globeville/Swansea community of Denver, Colorado, Kaitlyn Welden oversees one-on-one tutoring for 60 students this school year.

Developing a career of service

Although this is her first year as a site coordinator, Kaitlyn’s journey with Reading Partners began several years ago in South Carolina, when a college professor made volunteering a required component of her class. The course was titled “Constructing and Deconstructing Southern Literacies,” which focused on education inequity, particularly in the south. Her class volunteered as reading partners in a Charleston elementary school; “Tutoring quickly became one of my favorite parts of the week,” she said. After the semester was over, Kaitlyn continued to volunteer until she graduated from college.

Kaitlyn - SC ProfileHaving developed an enthusiasm for helping her community, Kaitlyn chose to join City Year after graduating from college. At City Year, Kaitlyn dedicated a year of AmeriCorps service to helping support students in high-poverty areas. This was an important learning experience that shaped her professional life.

“My year with City Year and AmeriCorps helped me hone many skills that I use both in my work as a site coordinator, and my life in general. Most notably, I learned the value of collaboration and communication. I learned a lot about how to effectively communicate with a diverse group of people who all had different values and backgrounds.”

Kaitlyn brought those experiences with her to Reading Partners which have helped her adapt to the dynamic role as a site coordinator. Every day, Kaitlyn communicates with teachers and volunteers from all walks of life, students of vastly different backgrounds and educational needs and other nonprofit employees, all with the end goal of providing the best possible instruction for Garden Place’s kids.

The Colorado team is thrilled to have Kaitlyn on as a full-time part of the Reading Partners family, where she brings her experience and passion for service to the reading center every day.

Joining Reading Partners’ band of young educators and leaders

As a site coordinator, Kaitlyn balances her responsibilities as an educator and coach for students and tutors alike, with her role as an integral part of the school community. This experience gives her a broad perspective of the educational landscape. When asked about her favorite aspects of the job, Kaitlyn said…

“I get to see so many aspects of education, volunteer management, and nonprofits. Though my favorite things about being a site coordinator are interacting with children and seeing them grow as learners, I also love working with this amazing group of volunteers and seeing them build their own relationships with the children they tutor. It’s amazing to see such a large community of people who give up their time each week to come tutor with Reading Partners.”

Having dedicated her time and energy to education through Reading Partners and other organizations for much of her life, Kaitlyn has no plans to stop any time soon. “I definitely want to stay in education in some capacity. I continue to believe that closing the achievement gap and working to end inequity in education is one of the most pressing issues of our time, and I want to continue to be a part of that work.”

Reading Partners Colorado is lucky to have Kaitlyn, along with the eleven other dedicated site coordinators who are key in inspiring young readers across Colorado, all with bright futures ahead of them.


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