Reading Buddies Program Introduces Change in Young Children

Mentoring Volunteer Opportunity for Individuals 55+

SPRINGFIELD, Mo -- Local volunteers are beginning to see results of a new mentoring initiative here in the Springfield Area, and they need your help.

The Council of Churches of the Ozarks is looking for people 55 and older, willing to turn the page in a child’s future. 

Springfield R-12 Superintendent John Jungmann recently addressed the need for strong mentors to step up in the community. Pre-K Pals and Reading Buddies are simply the introduction.

“I love children, even over adults. I always say that children are more honest,” laughed Ruth Carney. She's a veteran volunteer of the program, and has seen progress it from day 1.  

“We were their Guinea pigs, they called us,” said Carney. 

She began volunteered with her friend Mitzy Parke, by reading and mentoring to young kids as they prepare to enter kindergarten; A need that arose recently, as teachers were beginning to notice that some kids with special needs or developmental delays weren't ready for the next step.

Mitzy Parke noticed significant change 1st hand.  

“This child had never smiled or said anything," explained Parke. "On the last day, we had a book about a frog and I had a little hand puppet. The frog would jump, jump, jump, and I would do it on his little body."

"He just had the biggest grin on his face! I felt that I was more than rewarded for just doing it through that incident,” said Parke. 

“I just think this is very important," said Carney.

“We want them to feel safe, and we want them to feel love and accepted, said Kayla Grosshart, a childcare specialist who spoke at the Pre-K Pals training. "When that happens, they can better learn whatever we are presenting to them.”

Pre-K Pals, and the Reading Buddies program match volunteers 55 and up with kids either at risk, in poverty, or with special needs. These mentors visit local schools once a week.

“The kids don’t have a lot of those moments where its downtime and playtime. They’re stressed. They have this opportunity to have a moment to show them that its possible to build a relationship with an adult, and to make that a learning environment,” said Grosshart.


Volunteers need to pass a background check to get started. There is a training day for the Reading Buddies program scheduled on September 12.

For more information, be sure to check out the Council of Churches of the Ozarks website

 


More Stories

Don't Miss

  • Don Vance Ford
    Copyright 2018 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
  • CoxHealth - Fitness
    Copyright 2018 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
  • Harter House - Famous For Our Meats
  • Sutherlands Hardware & Supply
    Copyright 2018 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
  • Tri-Lakes Motors
    Copyright 2018 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories

Latest News

Video Center