Volunteering with Kids

I have a degree in elementary education, but I am not comfortable working with kids because I sound different and worry about understanding them. Obviously, I love kids as I have three of my own (the youngest turns two at the end of this month,—sob). Anyway, my kids’ school PTA has a program in which volunteers help tutor kids at schools that need extra help. I couldn’t do it.

I finally got the opportunity to work with kids without a single worry. In2Books is a program where adults mentor kids and share a love for reading with them. It’s all done by mail and email. I get a grade-level appropriate book (I have two fourth grade students in Washington, DC), read it, and then write a letter about it to the students.

Each book cycle (there are five total) covers any type of book. So far, we’ve had fiction, social studies, biography, and folk tale. The next, and final, book is science-related.

The program started last summer. I had to put together a poster with pictures of me. Boy, that was my first art project in ages that was my own and not my kids’. Art is not one of my family’s stronger suits, but I did the best I could. Oh boy, I’ll have to do another one soon for next fall’s program. Anyone want to help? 🙂

Parents and teachers are comfortable with the program since volunteers like me type our letters in Word and email them. In2Books reviews the letters to ensure they’re A-OK. We don’t mention our last names and we use In2Book’s address, although it’s cool to say where we’re from.

The students don’t get to cheat. They have to write their letters by hand and In2Books scans them. It’s great seeing their handwriting and artwork. Although, I had some trouble reading a scan or two since the text was so light. Probably done in pencil.

Right now, students are mainly in Washington, DC schools and some Chicago schools. It’d be awesome if this program can go widespread, but it’s going to take a lot of volunteers and support to make it happen. After all, there is an email to review, mail the books, and scan the student letters.

If I can do it… anyone can. I’ve got two jobs and neither one is parenting, which also takes up much time (and an enjoyable one… most of the time). I’ve had to find creative ways to volunteer in the past two years because of Paul’s job situation and my overloaded schedule.

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