Almost half of children start school without the skills they need to succeed, which leads to decreased proficiency levels later on. Two out of three fourth grade students are not reading at grade level. As part of United Way of Larimer County's Smart Start for Kids initiative, theReaders, Tutors, and Mentors program refers volunteers to organizations that are positively impactingthese statistics.
Children are not the only ones who benefit from these reader, tutor, mentor relationships; volunteers who interact withchildren and youth in educational programming also benefit directly from the experience of creating change in the lives of the children they serve. Scott and Ann are both excellent examples of individuals who have benefited from the program:
I became a volunteer for Larimer County4-H Science Out-of-Schoolbecause I realized how lucky I am to have the enjoyment of science in my own life, and I want others to experience the same. The awe of the cosmos and the wonders of nature that I experienced as a kid have only become more real to me as a professional. I believe everyone should have, at the very least, the opportunity to pursue a scientific career. Children begin studying science at a young age through their sense of wonder, but that curiosity needs consistent encouragement and cultivation. I enjoy teaching STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) activities because I believe I'm helping cultivate the human curiosity that drives innovation and exploration in the next generation of future scientists.
I have been mentoring with theOASIS Mentoring Programsince last August. I was matched with a very special girl and we have been meeting several times a month this past year. Some of the fun things we have done together have been: going to the rec center, ice cream outings, getting books at the library, making greeting cards, baking cookies, visiting the Loveland museum, and the sculpture park! It has been very rewarding to spend time with someone who just needs a friend. It provides her a chance to do fun things and not have to think about the stressful things in her life. It has been such a blessing to my life and I hope to her as well.
Take the challenge of making a lasting impact for the children of Larimer County as a Reader, Mentor or Tutor.