ReadingPals volunteer Lucy Kanady with students Leighton and Benton.
During the school year, United Way of Northeast Florida ReadingPals volunteers spend time with a pair of preschoolers reading a book, completing activities and helping children develop skills needed for future academic success.
ReadingPals, a statewide early literacy initiative, invites dedicated volunteers to spend 30 minutes to an hour each week helping pre-K children not only become more confident students but build a solid foundation for literacy. Lucy, a first-year ReadingPals volunteer at Lighthouse Christian School, recently shared the highlights of her “wonderful experience” as a ReadingPals volunteer.
“My little ReadingPals bless me every time I visit,” said Lucy. “I love their smiles, giggles and encouraging them to become fans of reading all kinds of books.”
Lucy is proud of the relationship she’s built with her ReadingPals students as a trusted adult who cares for them and often encourages her preschoolers to be lifelong readers. An additional benefit of participating in the ReadingPals initiative is the ten books students receive to build their at home library.
“These kids are so sweet and some have heartbreaking life challenges; some so tragic,” Lucy said. “[The students] fascinate me with their perseverance and still smiling eyes.”
With the help of more than 100 ReadingPals volunteers in Northeast Florida, United Way and its partners are able to provide children the resources they need to succeed in school, ensuring equitable education opportunities and promoting lifelong learning.
Join the movement You, too, can join Lucy in the movement for community change by becoming a ReadingPals volunteer. To register for an upcoming summer training, visit unitedwaynefl.org/readingpals. Volunteers must be at least 18 years old and have a successful background screening.