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November 21, 2017

More than 450 volunteers return to Reading Partners in South Carolina

We are continually inspired by the dedication of our volunteer reading partners and community partners in South Carolina. We value our tutors and strive to make each volunteer experience both memorable and meaningful. In the 2017-18 school year, we are proud to announce that 55 percent of our committed volunteers returned to tutor in the new school year—that’s over 450 volunteers and above the national average across Reading Partners’ network!

Our volunteers give at least one hour a week to help close the literacy gap in their community and the results are clear. Last year, our student performance results showed 93 percent of students met or exceeded their primary end-of-year literacy growth goal.

Meet some of the incredible volunteers who make our work possible.

Joe Lambright is one of our most memorable tutors. Returning to Charleston after 48 years living around the world, Joe searched for volunteer opportunities and found Reading Partners. He was excited to learn that Reading Partners serves Mary Ford Elementary, his very own childhood school. This year marks Joe’s third year serving students who now walk the same halls as he did as a young boy. He is proud to volunteer each week helping students become lifelong readers. And his students are equally enthusiastic about the chance to partner with Joe. Last year, Joe tutored a student who surprised him by bringing her twin sister to their volunteer session. Joe’s student explained she wanted two important people in her life to meet. Joe returns to Reading Partners each year because he sees that students are receptive to tutoring and he has a deep commitment to community service.

Christine and Eddie Brown are volunteers at St. Stephen Elementary returning for their second year of tutoring. This dynamic duo sees the improvement in their students each week. They show up early for every session and are always happy to see other tutors and students. Christine shares, “I am grateful for the opportunity to bring joy and to see the joy in our students and school.” Christine and Eddie decided to return this year because they saw the growth and success of their students and cherish the time they get to spend working with students throughout the school year. Eddie was glad to return to the classroom this fall, “I really enjoyed the time I spent with Reading Partners last year. I  felt like I got more out of it than my student did.”

Sophia Emetu began her third year as a tutor by returning to Memminger Elementary. A self-described “veteran tutor,” Sophia originally joined Reading Partners through the Honors College at College of Charleston, and has committed to tutoring through graduation. Sophia plans to attend medical school and has bonded with her current student Katie who also has dreams of becoming a doctor one day. Sophia shares, “To me, reading is not just a skill, it’s a passion too. I had a good experience with reading because I had someone in my childhood who encouraged me that reading was not only good for me, but fun.”

Barbara Navarro just began her sixth year as tutor. She began volunteering with Book Buddies and made the transition to Reading Partners in 2013. In addition to her weekly commitment at Cainhoy Elementary, Barbara also serves on our regional Board and Tutor Advisory Council. She shares, “From the very beginning, I knew I wanted to work with children. As a mother of three adult children, I know the importance of reading and empowering value of literacy.” Barbara comes back each year because she sees the impact the program has on students. “I have followed through on the individualized lesson plan for each of the students I have worked with, and together we caught them up to grade level, and at times even exceeded the goal of reaching grade level!” She has worked with many students over her years at Reading Partners. Her favorite memories include watching a shy fifth grader move from soft spoken and shoulder slumped to a confident and strong voiced girl excited to read aloud.

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We are so appreciative and thankful for each of our volunteer’s commitment and the impact they make each week on students’ reading skills and literacy development. Our program would not be possible without their support and time. Thank you for all you do for our students!

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