Volunteers sought to help with

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 28, 2000

local youth reading program


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Sept. 27, 2000 10 PM

Reading is a fundamental part of learning and achieving success, but unfortunately many children are left behind when it comes to learning how to read.

The America Reads program and its volunteers comes to the rescue of the students who are having trouble learning to read in the classroom. The goal of the program is to help ensure that all children can read well and independently by the end of third grade.

Pike County is one of many places in the nation that offers the America Reads program, and is lead by Lindsey Waldheim, Lauren Green and Alisha Holley.

The America Reads program is part of AmeriCorps, which operates school and tutoring projects. AmeriCorps is a part of Corporation of National Service and is modeled after the Peace Corps, but is held in America instead of foreign countries. The program sponsored by RSVP, a senior citizen volunteer service organization, but is federally funded and the employees do not receive a salary, but do get a living allowance.

Workers like Waldheim, Holley and Green, go through extensive training including pre-service orientation and early-service training, which is more specific to the program.

"We get trained for everything," Waldheim said.

Waldheim is a VISTA (Volunteer In Service To America) leader and has been involved in the program for a year and a half. She is the manager to all America Reads program in Alabama.

"We have all sorts of programs," Waldheim said. "We live and work in a county where there is a need. VISTAs provide an indirect service, and our job is to recruit volunteers. We have tutors in grades kindergarten through third grade at Banks, Pike County and Goshen schools."

Tutors are asked to volunteer at least one hour a week Monday through Friday between the hours of 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. Tutors go into the classroom and get two students and work with each for 30 minutes. Volunteers use whatever books the students are currently using in class as tutoring tools.

But the tutoring programs reaches outside the schools. There is an after-school program at the Troy Housing Authority. Green has worked with the Troy Housing Authority’s after-school program, and said most of her work involved helping students with their homework.

During the summer the Troy Public Library and the Tupper Lightfoot Memorial Library in Brundidge provide a place for the volunteers to continue tutoring.

"There are a lot of kids that need help," Waldheim said. "We recently had our first work-study at Goshen. We can use all the volunteers we can get and we are thankful to all of them."

The tutoring program is based on Troy State University’s semester system since many of the volunteers are TSU students.

"Volunteering can be used as community service hours for many majors and some of the university’s programs are using us as part of their curriculum," Waldheim said.

Anyone interested in tutoring can call the Pike County America Reads Challenge office at 566-6158. For more information about the Corporation of National Service visit its website at www.nationalservice.com.