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Hillsborough Schools Need ‘ReadingPals’

Two training sessions are scheduled this month. One is at the Temple Terrace Library.

It only takes an hour a week to make a difference in a child’s life.

That’s the message organizers behind Hillsborough County’s ReadingPals program are hoping to get out. Put together by SERVE and United Way, ReadingPals partners volunteer tutors with youngsters enrolled in Hillsborough County public elementary schools.

“Our goal is to ensure that more children are reading at grade level by the end of third grade,” said Debra Blossom, program manager for Hillsborough County schools. “Children who are read to are more likely to become good readers. And children who read at grade level by the fourth grade are four times more likely to graduate from high school. High school graduates earn more, make better choices, use fewer social services and stay out of trouble.”

To help new ReadingPals recruits get into the program, two upcoming training sessions are planned:

  • Jimmy B. Keel Regional Library, 2902 W. Bearss Ave. This session is set for Oct. 11 from 3 to 5 p.m.
  • Temple Terrace Library, 202 Bullard Parkway. This session runs Oct. 16 from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m.

Volunteers need to be adults committed to spending a least one hour a week for 25 weeks reading to school-aged children. They must also fill out a SERVE volunteer application and submit to a School District of Hillsborough County Level 2 background screening, Blossom said.

Once trained and screened, volunteer ReadingPals can help out at designated school sites throughout the county.

Why should volunteers get involved?

“People should get involved if they believe that the future of our state rests in the hands and minds of our youngest,” Blossom said. “Reading mentors can help change the story of many children and significantly increase graduation rates in our community by volunteering to assist children with reading skills for one hour a week for 25 weeks.”

To find out more about the program, call Blossom at 813-872-5254, ext. 226, or email debra.blossom@sdhc.k12.fl.us. More information is also available on the SERVE website.

Do you know an outstanding volunteer in the Temple Terrace community? Let us know about the person in the comments section.

Marcy Leber October 10, 2012 at 12:24 PM
As many Temple Terrace residents know, Cheri Donohue has given 30+ years to our community volunteering in many area of need but I have to give her my thanks for introducing me to volunteering in our schools. From Cheri's invitation to the PTA coffee when my daughter was a first grader at Temple Terrace Elementary that eventually led to my serving as the first PTA president of Lewis Elem. through Greco, Sligh, King and Tampa Bay Tech. Cheri always said, "When my kids go to school, I go with them." I made that my motto, too, and it served our family well. Thanks, Cheri, for leading my down the path of community service. You are my hero !

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