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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.

Spotlight on VPK Summer Reading Buddies Volunteers

September 09, 2015

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.

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