Students and community members in Waitsfield will soon benefit from a mentoring and literacy program called Everybody Wins! Vermont (EW! VT). Beginning this fall, adult volunteers will spend up to one lunch hour each week reading with a local schoolchild at WES.
The new program is being funded in part by a grant from the Vermont Mentoring Funders Collaborative.
The Everybody Wins is a once-a-week lunchtime read-aloud program that
pairs adult volunteers with nearby elementary school students to share
books, conversation and lunch.
WES Principal Kaiya Korb said, "I'm thrilled that we have been able to team up with Everybody Wins to bring a mentoring program to our Waitsfield Elementary School and the Mad River Valley. It is so important for young people to know that many around them, not just their teachers or parents, care about their learning and value education. This program lives up to its name, providing a win-win situation for both the child and the adult involved. Everybody Wins' reputation and experience were just what we were looking for to reinforce reading skills and create structured situations in which students and the broader community could interact towards positive goals."
EW! VT takes responsibility for all administration and coordination. It manages the volunteers, the daily logistics, recruitment, training and mentor reference checks; they provide books, orientations, parent and mentor workshops, enrichment activities for the students, liability insurance and other necessary supplies for the program.
The program's equation combines one mentor, one child, one book at a time to improve both the skills and love of reading.
The goal in the first year is to recruit and match 20 mentor/student pairs at Waitsfield Elementary School. EW! VT seeks to form business partnerships to encourage employees to get involved during their lunch break.
The staff at EW! VT is also attempting to spread the word via presentations at community organizations. Those interested should visit www.ewvt.org or call Amy Cunningham, executive director of EW! VT, at (802) 229-2665 to plan a presentation.
EW! VT is also seeking to hire a 10-hour-per-week school coordinator to run the program at WES in the fall.
"We are delighted to bring our program to the Waitsfield Elementary School. Everybody Wins! Vermont is based on the notion that the more children read, the better readers they become. Our approach is to help children experience the joy of reading good books in a one-to-one, non-instructional setting, and we rely on volunteer mentors in order to do that," stated Amy Cunningham.
Everybody Wins! was founded in 1991 in New York City. In the spring of 1995, Senators James Jeffords (I-VT) and Paul Simon (D-IL) along with a bipartisan coalition of 130 senators and their staff helped launch the program in Washington, DC.