Congratulations to our YouthSERVE Reading Buddies volunteers! They’ve been selected for this year’s Cesar Chavez Community Awards and they will receive an award from the City of Watsonville on March 23rd from 6-8pm at the Civic Plaza Community Room.
The Reading Buddies Program pair tutors, ages 11-18, with children in kindergarten through second grade to help them develop their reading skills. Each tutor is paired with a child for an 8-week period.
Sofia and Janet, sophomores at Diamond Tech Institute, learned about Reading Buddies during the first year the program was implemented at Starlight elementary School in 2015. Isaiah joined shortly after and got involved to receive community service hours, but knew he wanted to work directly with younger students. He recalled enjoying reading when he was a young child, and wanted to ensure the students he mentored would have the same opportunity to enjoy reading. They have all remained dedicated Reading Buddies volunteers today.
Sofia feels that volunteering has given her a chance to improve her skills.
“I feel like volunteering has helped me apply skills that I have been taught in school and use them in a real world, especially with kids. With what my career choice is (anesthesiology), kids are usually going to be terrified to go into surgery and will need help easing into it. It’s similar to easing kids into a new level in their reading, challenging them into something that eventually they will be able to surpass, and get into more challenging books,” states Sofia.
The teens said the program has helped them with communications skills and that they have increased their level of patience while working with kids. They have proven to be excellent volunteers and role models to the students they mentor. Their continued engagement and commitment to volunteerism exposes their peers and younger students to pro-social activities, thus, creating a lasting impact on others and exemplifying the power and impact youth volunteers have to make the city a safe space for future generations.
Our Reading Buddies volunteers remind us of Cesar Chavez’s kindness, respect and unwavering dedication to helping others. And as we celebrate Cesar Chavez’s life and all that he has accomplished for farm worker’s rights, we are proud to work with teens that are committed to carrying on Cesar Chavez’s legacy.
Do you want to take part in continuing Cesar Chavez’s legacy? Check out the YouthSERVE Cesar Chavez Day Project today!