Many Hillsborough County Voluntary Pre-K (VPK) students are entering a classroom setting for the very first time. Providing students with the resources they require for Kindergarten readiness can be exactly the edge they need to begin their academic experience with confidence and success. The VPK Summer Reading Buddies program, developed in partnership with the school district is a unique, dynamic literacy program to meet the needs of VPK students during the summer, while giving high school students a meaningful volunteer opportunity in order to gain community service hours.
The Summer VPK Reading Buddies Program impacts not only the VPK students, but also the youth volunteer tutors, who are paired with the VPK students. The program was originally introduced four years ago in a partnership with United Way. For the last three years, the program has been presented in partnership with the Community Volunteer Coordinators (formerly known as SERVE) and Hillsborough County Public Schools.
Reading Buddy, Mikayla shares, “I have grown from my experience at my site by knowing that I have an impact on these children. I take responsibility, help guide them in the right path, and try to be the best role model I can be. It's a satisfying feeling knowing that I'm helping shape them into the great kindergartener students that I know they can be”.
The reading buddies and VPK students read together using the myON digital reader. This year alone a total of 39 high school students participated in the program, ten of which are returning volunteers. The reading buddies worked for a six-week period with 105 VPK students at eight different sites.
Tess, one of the reading buddies reflects on her experience, “My favorite part of this program was watching the kids grow and learn just by doing something they can enjoy.”
Making a difference, having a positive impact on the academic experience of both the Reading Buddy and the VPK Student is what the Summer Reading Buddies Volunteer program is all about. To learn more about how Summer Volunteer programs visit serve.mysdhc.org and click the Summer Volunteer Program tab.View Full Album