What a difference a year makes. Last year at this time, we slowed down and regrouped due to Covid. We pivoted our program delivery to online mentoring which was a challenge. We learned a lot about technology, but more importantly we learned that our literacy approach works online as well as in person. Plus, we learned a lot of patience!
This year, we are back in the schools and mentoring in person. Thank you to both our returning volunteers and 51 newly trained volunteers. Yes, we already have 200 volunteer mentors scheduled to read in 35 schools – a significant increase over last year at this time. Still, there are schools that would like volunteers – especially in the SE and SW quadrants of Albuquerque. Even though our next two training sessions are filled to capacity, we anticipate needing more volunteer reading mentors this school year. If you have been considering returning for one-on-one mentoring, this is the time as the students need you. We all want to keep the students safe, so yes, we must be vaccinated and yes, we must wear a mask. We are completing fingerprint background clearances for both in-person and online volunteers. Yes, we do have one school still offering an online option, so contact me if you are interested. It is not too late to start the process to join us and mentor this year!
For those of you who missed the Journal Literacy articles in August, here is a link and Oasis was right there in the mix! Special Report: The Literacy Project https://www.abqjournal.com/2399401/volunteers-are-the-lifeblood-of-literacy.html Albuquerque Public Schools has changed our classification from “essential” to “critical” since they recognize the special service our volunteers provide as reading mentors for elementary school students. This is important to know that schools are not allowing independent volunteers on campus, but Oasis is welcomed in all schools with principal approval. Note that we are currently in 35 schools and we will keep that total low until our team swells in numbers again! We had a delayed start this year with most of the volunteers starting no later than the week of October 25th. I am grateful for the delay as several schools were waiting to make sure students, staff and volunteers will be safe in the schools. See this month’s NPR article on the benefits of reading aloud to children. https://www.npr.org/2021/10/01/1041859001/reading-aloud-benefits-childrens-literacy
Volunteer Hours Reporting
Please keep a total volunteer hours that you complete to submit monthly. We use those totals to share the strength of our program when writing grant proposals for funding. No identifying info is attached to the report that I submit. Please include in that total your library and preparation time, your session time with the student, visiting the school and coordinator time, and support meeting time. We simply need one total for all hours each month. Please also forward the first name and grade of your student along with the teacher’ name and email address. If you would like a format, I will share an example below. Once you have submitted the basic info, you need only send in your total monthly volunteer hours.
Teacher Email Address:
Monthly volunteer hours total:
Tutor Support Meetings
Friday, November 12, 2021 @11am-12:30pm (Zoom)
Children, Youth & Families Department – Identifying/reporting suspected child abuse/neglect. The Zoom link for this class will be forwarded that week.
Note: support meetings are not mandatory except for the initial CYFD child abuse training for new recruits. Returning volunteers are welcome to attend the Nov 12th training as a refresher.
Historically, we have not recorded our support meetings but we are looking into the possibility of recording Zoom trainings with all cameras off and microphones muted. When any training/meetings are recorded, notice will be given at the beginning and then the recording will be made available to current volunteers only.
Ornithology Fans: Relive the Best Moments from the 2021 Red-tailed Hawk Cam
October Suggested Read Aloud Stories
These titles are available in the Oasis library. Our library inventory is up to 7000 titles and growing.
Pumpkin Jack by Will Hubbell
Grumpy Monkey by Suzanne Lang
The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid Of Anything by Linda Williams