Why is Read Ahead’s work so important?
By pairing students with adult mentors who are genuinely interested in helping a student in a nearby school succeed, the program promotes sustainable relationships between the mentor and student mentee. It's much more than a literacy program.
Why are you passionate about Read Ahead?
I have loved reading and writing from a young age, so the idea of improving a child's reading immediately resonated with me. Also, having grown up in many countries overseas, I had wonderful teachers but missed out on having a consistent adult role model at school. It wasn't until I moved to the U.S. and spent all 4 years of high school at one school, when I realized the importance of longevity in mentor-mentee relationships. Having a mentor who watched and helped me grow as a student and as a person was instrumental to many of the decisions I made as a young adult. Read Ahead facilitates this at a young age, so I can only imagine how beneficial the program may be for the mentees.
What has been the most rewarding part of volunteering?
Reading to my mentee, Aydin, is the best hour of my week. It brings me so much joy to see him progress over time. On the first day we read together, he was reticent to read aloud and shy about his interests. Now, Aydin is picking challenging books to read aloud, draws pictures of what he read, and enthusiastically shares stories about his life.