By Sharon Aron Baron
The United Way of Broward County is actively seeking volunteers to participate in its ReadingPals Program — an initiative that aims to positively impact children’s lives by improving their literacy skills and fostering strong social-emotional foundations.
The program connects dedicated volunteers with pre-K through 3rd-grade students across Broward County, encouraging a lifelong love for reading.
Volunteers will dedicate one hour per week, for 28 weeks, during the 2023/2024 school year. Sessions are scheduled from Monday to Friday, between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m., allowing volunteers to read to individual students or small groups.
Volunteers play a crucial role in helping these young learners thrive by providing personalized attention and encouragement.
To participate in the ReadingPals Program, interested individuals must attend one of the four training sessions scheduled for July 12 & 28 and August 8 & 14, 2023.
Volunteers are required to complete and pass a Level II background check with Broward County Public Schools. Prospective volunteers must be at least 18 and available during school hours.
The ReadingPals Program, now in its 11th year, has significantly impacted the community. The initiative initially began with 105 volunteers reading to 167 students. Since then, the program has served over 2,450 Broward County elementary school students. Through United Way of Broward County’s ReadingPals, more than 94,000 books have been distributed to Pre-K through 2nd-grade children. The program has seen the participation of over 1,900 volunteers, who have generously donated over 39,000 hours of their time.
Several organizations have lent their support to the ReadingPals Program, including the A.D. Henderson Foundation, Amazon, Broward County Public Schools, Catherine L. & Edward A. Lozick Foundation, Children’s Services Council of Broward County, City of Deerfield Beach, City of Hollywood, Fifth Third Bank, FPL, JM Family Enterprises, PNC Bank, The Carol, and Barney Barnett Family Trust, and The Children’s Movement of Florida/Early Childhood Initiative.
Training sessions for interested volunteers will be held on the following dates:
- Wednesday, July 12, 2023, from 10 a.m. to 12 noon
- Friday, July 28, 2023, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
- Tuesday, August 8, 2023, from 10 a.m. to 12 noon
- Monday, August 14, 2023, from 10 a.m. to 12 noon
These sessions will be conducted via Zoom or at the United Way of Broward County’s Ansin Building, 1300 S Andrews Ave, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33316.
For those interested in becoming a ReadingPals volunteer, please get in touch with Brittney Croslin at 954.453.3742 or email bcroslin@UnitedWayBroward.org. Additional information about the ReadingPals Program can be found at UnitedWayBroward.org/ReadingPals.
- Sharon Aron Baron is a Parkland resident and editor of Talk Media. She has been covering Parkland news since 2012. Parkland Talk was created to provide News, Views, and Entertainment for the residents of Parkland.
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