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September 30, 2021

Reading Partners looking for volunteers this upcoming school year

Originally published on Live5News 

looking for volunteers

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) – A non-profit dedicated to closing the gap in reading skills for elementary students is looking for more volunteers.

Reading Partners had to slim down their number of volunteers last year because of COVID-19, when they moved to virtual tutoring.

For the 2021-22 school year, Reading Partners is offering both virtual and in-person opportunities for students across Charleston and Berkeley County Schools.

Community Engagement Director Christine Messick says after an unprecedented year, the extra help is more important than ever.

“The learning loss that’s occurred because of COVID has been pretty dramatic,” Messick said. “It’s estimated that the learning loss is anywhere from seven months to a year. And again, all we need is volunteers to show up and help.”

Messick says they need about 960 volunteers for the upcoming school year.

Volunteers will work with the same student all year. Reading Partners says volunteers follow one of their curriculums and meet students once a week, for one hour. Reading Partners also supplies volunteers with all of the materials they will need to work with assigned students.

Messick says the virtual option allows them to continue serving more students across Charleston and Berkeley Counties.

“Especially those students that are in rural areas, where it’s difficult to recruit volunteers,” Messick said. “So, we’ll honestly be able to have a volunteer in downtown Charleston serving a student up in rural Berkely County.”

Reading Partners Special Projects Manager Cierra Rogers says they are always looking for new ways to better help students.

“This year, we are incorporating some more social and emotional learning for our students because we understand that not just learning the curriculum, but social and emotional is an important part of the education process,” Rogers said. “Throughout our curriculum, we have outline some different activities that the tutor and students can do as they get to know each other and as they get to know the new material in our curriculum.”

Enrollment is now open to apply to be a Reading Partners volunteer here. Volunteers can apply on Reading Partners’ website or they can call 843-860-3915.

Reading Partners says volunteers will also have to complete a background check and attend orientation.

Messick says orientation for volunteers will take place at the end of August.

Rogers says they are also looking to fill a few AmeriCorps positions with local schools. AmeriCorps is a federally funded service that allows folks to serve in the community while receiving a living allowance.

AmeriCorps here also works closely with Reading Partners. Employees will help oversee Reading Partners volunteers and help them with direction and solving problems.

Volunteers who want to find more information or apply for an AmeriCorps position can head to Reading Partners AmeriCorps page.

“With AmeriCorps, it’s an opportunity for people who are really trying to figure out what they want to do,” Rogers said. “If they want to give back to the community, we are looking for enthused individuals.”

Rogers adds they are looking for people with computer skills and who are passionate about giving back and working with students. Volunteers do not need a college degree to apply.

She says they have a lot of positions right now coming off of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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