Every Tuesday, 50 children from across the age ranges who need some extra help, read to one of the JSCC’s 13 newly recruited volunteers .
At first many pupils appeared reluctant. They entered the library dragging their feet and staring at the floor. Conversation was stilted and attempts to avoid turning up were commonplace. Barely 3 months later, the atmosphere couldn’t be more different.
Students smile as they enter the library, laughing as the supervisor tries to get some of the names correct without prompting. The volunteers, some of whom are parents, others are retired people from local churches, are clearly starting to develop their own relationships. Stories are beginning to emerging of children wanting to chat, keen to share some information about their week before starting to read.
Each week the volunteers share experiences and ideas with one another, but on 14th May something special happened.
“I’ve just had a really good time with my last student” one of the parent volunteers beamed,
“She brought her own book for the very first time!”
This would have been significant in itself and it was clear that the volunteer was encouraged by this new development. However, she continued to share enthusiastically,
“She is also still reading with a teacher two or three times a week”
Another success to be celebrated! Several volunteers had started to ask how many of the children were still reading regularly outside the Tuesday sessions, so this was good to hear. However, the best was yet to come!
“The girl’s mum was so interested in what was going on, that she has started reading with her daughter too”
What a wonderful transformation in one child’s life.
Thanks to the willingness of the head teacher to work in partnership with the community, the determination of staff to get the scheme off the ground and the commitment of the volunteers, the project is already proving to be a real success with all involved.
We look forward to hearing many more stories like this in the weeks and months to come.