Letters and Opinion

Give 2 hours a week to schoolchildren

June 5, 2010

Mickey Maurer’s article in the May 31 edition re: the need for support and mentoring of kids coming from disadvantaged backgrounds hit the nail on the head. For many reasons, many kids, especially younger ones, simply do not get the support at home and, sometimes, enough support at their schools, to make the academic advances they need to keep up and move on.

One fantastic organization in the local area that offers wonderful intergenerational, one-on-one tutoring opportunities in all subjects, especially, reading in the early grades, is OASIS. A national, nonprofit educational organization designed to enhance the quality of life for mature adults, Indianapolis OASIS has several hundred dedicated, local volunteers enhancing the quality of their lives and those of young learners in 10 school districts via weekly tutoring sessions. Training as well as lots of resources are provided to tutors free of charge due to generous financial support by Macy’s and Clarian Health.

Research shows that, if a child is not reading well by the end of the third grade, he or she is very likely to fall farther and farther behind as the years progress. Evidence shows that, with just 30 minutes or so a week of focused coaching and encouragement, students can make dramatic improvement.

You might do story time to a whole class, work with small groups, or work with one student each week. In my case, I do all three because the time is so enjoyable and rewarding. It wasn’t so enjoyable the last day of class when the second grade class I’ve been working with for two years “graduated.”

If you want to make a significant difference in the life of a child (or several) by donating a couple of hours a week to teaching and encouragement, call OASIS coordinator Rita Covely at 248-8297 with your questions and for fall opportunities in your school district. None of the many awesome volunteers I’ve talked with has regretted their involvement. You won’t, either.

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Charles Waldo

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