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May 12, 2023

Reading Partners Tulsa announces Fifth Annual Valued Volunteer Award Winners

At Reading Partners, we believe every child deserves the opportunity to become a strong reader and lifelong learner. Thanks to the dedication of our volunteers and the support of our community, we’ve been able to provide personalized attention to each of the 10,000+ students who have participated in our program since we came to Tulsa in 2013. 

Each year, we recognize some of our most outstanding community volunteers, as well as a community partner and school partner who have prioritized supporting volunteer recruitment efforts and the volunteer experience. Here are our valued volunteer award winners of 2023. 

Reading Matters

Stephanie Jackson
It’s time to celebrate the incredible work of Stephanie Jackson, a dedicated Reading Partner who has been spreading joy and knowledge since 2020! Stephanie began her journey at Greenwood Leadership Academy through her employer, City of Tulsa. In her second year as a tutor, Stephanie served at Skelly Elementary.

This year, Stephanie dedicated her time to making a huge impact at Cooper Elementary, where she provided 41 tutoring sessions (or volunteer hours). Her program coordinator raves about her consistency and flexibility, and her willingness to go the extra mile for her students.

Stephanie’s commitment to providing make-up sessions and leaving detailed notes is truly inspiring. She understands the power of one-on-one intervention and takes every tutoring session seriously. Thanks to her hard work, the communication gap between tutors and program coordinators is bridged, and the impact on students is immeasurable.

Stephanie, your dedication and continued support are invaluable to the Reading Partners program. Thank you for making a difference in the lives of so many young learners. We are grateful for you!

Together We Are Better

Susan Robb
Let’s celebrate Susan’s amazing dedication and hard work as a Reading Partner at Kendall-Whittier Elementary! Susan has been an invaluable asset to the program since 2019 and continues to go above and beyond to ensure her students receive the best support possible.

Not only does Susan arrive early and stay late for every session, but she also demonstrates flexibility and responsiveness to her program coordinator’s requests. Her passion for helping students is truly remarkable and she exemplifies what it means to be an ideal tutor.

Susan’s commitment to her students is also evident in her willingness to experiment with new strategies and adjust her approach as needed. She is always looking for ways to improve and is dedicated to meeting her students where they are.

Thank you, Susan, for your unwavering dedication to your students and the program. Your hard work and caring spirit truly make a difference in the lives of those you work with. You are a shining example of how, Together We Are Better!

Laughter Keeps Us Going 

Kathy Housh

Kathy is a true ray of sunshine at Owen Elementary’s reading center! Not only does she bring laughter and joy to her weekly tutoring sessions with a third-grader, but her positive energy and cheerful demeanor also brighten the day for other tutors and teachers around her. From the moment she started tutoring, Kathy quickly built a wonderful rapport with her student, using her quick wit and humor to make learning a fun and enjoyable experience.

Whenever Kathy and her student come across new words or tricky concepts, Kathy knows just how to make the lesson interesting and engaging. She’s not afraid to poke fun at herself when she makes mistakes, and she even incorporates fun brain breaks inspired by old dance moves mentioned in the curriculum! With Kathy’s guidance and encouragement, her student has grown so much in both her academic skills and her confidence.

Kathy’s program coordinator has noticed the incredible impact she has made on her student’s attitude towards making mistakes. Instead of getting discouraged, her student now laughs it off and tries again, thanks to the positive example set by Kathy. We are so grateful for Kathy and the joy and love she brings to our reading center. Kathy, you are truly wonderful and we appreciate you so much!

Big Challenges Are Our Thing 

Dillon Mitchell

Dillon is a committed and passionate tutor at Key Elementary, whose impact on the students he works with has been nothing short of remarkable since he started at MacArthur Elementary in 2018. This year, Dillon has been devoting his time to working closely with a young student who faced challenges with reading and lacked self-assurance.

Despite his student’s initial reluctance to engage with the program, Dillon never gave up on him. He always went above and beyond to make his reading partner feel comfortable and safe during their sessions. Whether it was by sitting under tables or chairs or playing fun reading games, Dillon made sure that his student was always excited to come to the reading center.

Thanks to Dillon’s patient and compassionate approach, his reading partner has made incredible progress in his reading skills. And best of all, he now leaves each session with a big smile on his face and a newfound confidence in his abilities. Dillon’s impact on his student’s life will have a lasting positive influence on him for years to come.

Data Drive Decisions

Owen Elementary
It’s hard not to feel grateful and optimistic when talking about the amazing partnership between Owen Elementary and Reading Partners. Since joining forces in 2021, the leadership of Principal Bradley Griffin and the dedication of Owen staff have made an incredible impact on the literacy growth of students.

Last year, an incredible 92% of Owen Elementary reading partners met their growth goals – a testament to the hard work and commitment of everyone involved. And we’re thrilled to share that we’re on track to surpass that data this year!

It’s truly heartwarming to see such a strong commitment to literacy growth in our students, and we’re so grateful for the hard work and dedication of everyone at Owen Elementary. Thank you for being such an incredible partner in helping our students succeed!

Volunteers Get Results

The University of Tulsa
What a wonderful partnership we have with the University of Tulsa! Their commitment to being a community partner is truly inspiring, and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to collaborate with them this year for Tulsa’s 50th anniversary of Mayfest.

Since we first joined forces in 2015, TU has gone above and beyond to support our mission. Through both virtual and in-person tutoring sessions, they have provided a staggering 11,000 sessions to students in need. They have also invited us to recruit new volunteers annually at their Activity Fair and Freshman Orientation, which has helped us to expand our reach and connect with even more kind-hearted individuals.

We are especially grateful for the numerous students, faculty, staff, tutors, True Blue Neighbors who have joined us across various reading centers over the years to provide weekly tutoring sessions throughout Tulsa. Their dedication to supporting our mission has been unwavering, and we are constantly inspired by their generosity and commitment to making a difference in our community.

As we look towards the future, we are filled with excitement and hope for what is yet to come in our partnership with the University of Tulsa. We know that, together, we can continue to create positive change and make a lasting impact on the lives of those around us.

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