In recognition of January as National Mentoring Month, RSVP of North Central Iowa is celebrating the work of Reading Coach Volunteers. RSVP Reading Coaches tutor and mentor middle school students to help them improve their literacy skills. In addition to tutoring in reading, volunteers are caring adults in the lives of the students they serve, empowering them to make smart choices that put them on a path to improved life opportunities. The RSVP Reading Coach Program is a certified mentoring program with the State of Iowa.
The theme of National Mentoring Month is, “In Real Life” which focuses on the life-changing benefits of mentoring to young people. Volunteering as a mentor is a valuable step in igniting the mentoring effect in your community. With a mentor:
- 52% of at-risk youth are less likely than their peers to skip a day of school
- 46% of at-risk youth are less likely than their peers to start using drugs
- 55% of at-risk youth are more likely to be enrolled in college
- 90% of at-risk youth reported interest in becoming mentors themselves
Molly Anderegg, RSVP director, said the need is great for more Reading Coach Volunteers. “Each school RSVP partners with has more students in need than volunteers,” she said. “People tend to think working with middle school students can be challenging, but more often than not, it is also rewarding. I encourage older adults to consider this opportunity and help an adolescent student in their community.”
This year RSVP of North Central Iowa has 32 Reading Coaches serving five schools as mentors. RSVP has recently expanded into Franklin and Mitchell counties where it plans to introduce the Reading Coach program also. Volunteers meet with students each week to work on literacy skills and often develop strong bonds. RSVP would like to thank the following Reading Coach Volunteers for their dedication to youth in North Central Iowa:
Forest City Middle School – Forest City: Judith Anderson, JoAnn Bartleson, Mary Baxter, Barb Braun, Annette Bruns, Cheryl Burke, Paul Fitzgerald, Cheryl Hanna, Joan Hansen, Ken Hansen, Cynthia Korth, Roberta Kraft-Abrahamson, Karolyn Overlie, and Mary Schaefer
Garner-Hayfiled-Ventura Intermediate School – Ventura: Carrol Boehnke, Bobbie Gifford, Patty Hestad, Kathy Hinrichs, Twyla Quinn, and Janelle Renner
Lincoln Intermediate School – Mason City: Robin Bratvold, Jack Gannett, Don Gettner, Raymond Heimbuch, Vel Mondahl, and Julie Thoreen-Birkedal
North Iowa Middle School – Buffalo Center: Joe Angstman and Connie Brooks
West Hancock Middle School – Kanawha: Kathy Johnson, Lucinda McCellan, Connie Price and Jean Sheets
To become a Reading Coach, or for more information about RSVP of North Central Iowa, visit www.niacc.edu/rsvp/ or contact 1-888-466-4222 ext. 4256, (641) 422-4256 or firstname.lastname@example.org. RSVP of North Central Iowa serves the counties of Cerro Gordo, Franklin, Hancock, Mitchell, Winnebago, and Worth.
RSVP is sponsored by North Iowa Area Community College. It is part of a national network of programs called Senior Corps that recruits adults 55 and older to use their skills, talents, and life experience to help meet community needs through volunteer service. RSVP of North Central Iowa’s primary focus is childhood literacy, including programs such as Reading Coaches. RSVP is partly funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service, State of Iowa, United Way of North Central Iowa and local county governments.
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