Volunteers needed to support local students

Volunteers needed for literacy and math
YEC Training dates set for 2019-2020

PHOENIX – To better support schools and help students reach critical benchmarks in learning and development, Your Experience Counts (YEC) is recruiting and training classroom volunteers to focus on student academic growth in literacy and math skills.

A program of HandsOn Greater Phoenix, YEC provides volunteers to 26 schools in five school districts.  Last year, nearly 4,000 students received instruction and classroom support from a YEC volunteer.

“We value life and work experiences, a passion for helping children learn and an interest in specific subject areas,” YEC’s Educational Programs Manager Mike Beardslee said.  

Teaching experience is not a requirement to be an effective volunteer. 

“We provide the training to boost volunteers’ confidence and capabilities to support the classroom learning environment; and techniques and strategies for reading, math and other interventions,” he said.

Virginia Kaslo, a Your Experience Counts volunteer for 11 years,  provides small group literacy support for third grade students at Richard E. Miller.  She is a retired nurse and health professional. (Photo courtesy of YEC)

Dave Moline and Virginia Kaslo were two of the 86 YEC volunteers last year.  Both supported literacy in the Washington Elementary School District.

Moline discovered YEC and his interest in teaching and working with children after retiring from his construction business three years ago.  Kaslo joined YEC 11 years ago after a career in the health field as a nurse and a medical management administrator. 

Both provide literacy support, working with small groups or tutoring individual students in reading, writing and special projects.

Moline supports third grade teacher Bridgett Potthoff three days a week at Moon Mountain Elementary.  According to Potthoff, Moline makes a significant impact on her students.

“He brings real world experiences as well as a love for children and dedication to their education,” she said.  “He helps them work through academic obstacles with hints and encouragement. Students love Mr. Moline.  He boosts their self-confidence and genuinely takes interest in their overall success.”

Moline, who was introduced to YEC by a friend, says that he is able “to take the time to explain and provide individual attention for students.  Growth isn’t always obvious day to day but we see growth over time.”

Kaslo and her mentor-teacher Nicole Marcum have formed a team working with third grade students at Richard E. Miller. 

“Virginia is more than a volunteer, she is part of our classroom family,” stated Marcum.  “She supports students by planning great reading lessons and ways to improve their vocabulary.  She is passionate about helping them with their reading and has incorporated social studies and science into her lessons.”

Kaslo remarked: “Reading can be so exciting.  I try to help students see they can use the skill in all their other classes.  I help to build their confidence. And I love the kids, education and doing something that gives me more than I give them.”

YEC volunteers serve high-needs schools in the Mesa, Balsz, Osborn, Washington and Dysart Districts.  Many volunteers are retired from business, military or education; and some are stay-at-home moms, college students or work part-time. 

Volunteers typically spend one or two days, 2 – 10 hours a week in classrooms.  More volunteers are needed for the 2019-2020 school year.  Volunteers interested in literacy will be matched with a teacher in grades 1-3; those interested in math and STEAM will work with a teacher in grades 4-8. 

Training dates for the 2019-20 school year have been set:

  • Phoenix area:  August 27-28
  • Mesa and East Valley: Sept. 18-19
  • Surprise and Northwest Valley: Sept. 23-24

For more information or to volunteer for the 2019-2020 school year, contact Mike Beardslee, Educational Programs Manager:  mike@handsonphoenix.org; 623-223-9248; or visit http://handsonphoenix.org/YEC-apply .