Volunteers from Grace Polaris Church, a Grace Brethren church on the north side of Columbus, Ohio (Mike Yoder, lead pastor), were highlighted in a story this week in the Westerville (Ohio) News and Public Opinion. The story details how they’ve been involved in helping children at a local elementary school read. Dustin Speaks, who serves on the pastoral staff at Grace Polaris, is also quoted in the article. A portion of the article appears below. Click here to read the complete story.
Volunteers of all ages help young readers at Wilder
Senior citizens, church members and even home-schooled students are volunteering their time to help Wilder Elementary School children improve their reading skills. …
In addition, a group of members of the Grace Polaris Church volunteer during their lunch breaks to read with students.
Church member Allison Jenkins said she comes to Wilder on her lunch break and meets with second-grader Christopher Litteral. They sit in the library as he stacks Fritos onto his peanut butter and jelly sandwich and Jenkins reads a chapter book aloud to him, asking him questions along the way.
“Now, do you remember why this character is called ‘Cam’?” she asks.
“Because he likes cameras!” Christopher answers.
Jenkins said she really enjoys getting to know the students and watching their reading improve.
“We always assume someone else is going to volunteer and we think we are too busy,” she said. “But, I made a commitment to help Christopher and so now I arrange my work schedule so I can honor that commitment.”
The volunteers’ sacrifices do not go unnoticed by school staff.
“The generosity of their time and talent is so amazing and inspirational. They are such lovely people to give themselves to us like that,” Wickham said.
The Rev. Dustin Speaks, pastor at Grace Polaris, tutors second-grader Brianna Slone. He recently helped her read the American Girl book she received for Christmas.
The girl reminds Speaks that, “I’m really good at reading. In first grade, I was bad at reading. But now I just finished reading the bonus words for second grade.”
Together, they read slowly down the page of her book, pausing to point out mispronunciations.
Speaks also helps a fourth-grade student who recently moved to America. He helps him with reading and they also do activities such as counting plastic coins to help him learn American currency. …
Click here to read the complete story.