I’m sure you’ve seen them in the hallways and tucked in pod areas and other open spaces, reading and chatting with our youngsters, always wearing a smile and carrying a book or two. They are our wonderful Northern Virginia Assistance League volunteers, and we are so thankful for their generosity of time, attention, and care. These ladies continue to work to enhance the language arts and literacy skills of our early elementary students, particularly those who speak English as a second language. First, we have the Reading Express program, in which they recorded books and prepared materials for this books-on-tape program. This home-based program is designed to increase students’ at-home reading frequency and overall reading fluency, as well as increase parents’ participation in their children’s reading development. They also meet with kindergarteners and first graders each week, donating more than 360 hours to our students to help them with their reading. The volunteers read with students, exchange their take-home books and tapes, and talk with students about the books they are reading, giving one-on-one attention. The kids are always excited to see their “buddy readers” because of the interest these ladies take in each student. As the year comes to a close, they are preparing a reading celebration where they will provide our students with even more books to encourage them to keep reading during the summer months.
In addition to the reading help they offer, they also have a program called Operation School Bell, where they provide new clothing for kids. In December, they donated Giant gift cards for our needy families; and, in April, they took 48 students on a Kmart shopping trip. We are so thankful for the philanthropy this community organization has extended to us throughout the past several years. They truly are a part of the Providence family, and we so enjoy having them in our hallways each week, working with our students to help them meet their potential!