May 2012  |  By Susan B. Noyes

Kids & Adults Win with READING POWER

Looking for an easy way to make a difference in a child’s life—and yours?

Try this winning formula:

  • Adult volunteers spend half a day each week meeting one-on-one with three or four darling kids in grades K–2 in a North Chicago school.
  • Children— that otherwise struggle to learn—improve their reading and writing skills, often developing a love of reading. They also treat the adults like celebrities.
  • Adult volunteers form bonds of friendship with each other and feel the joy of making a real difference.
Local nonprofit Reading Power follows this formula, providing an effective literacy program for low-income students in North Chicago schools. Over 160 volunteers come from as far away as Kenilworth to tutor these at-risk kids.
Reading Power has been called “a 30-minute miracle.” It makes life better for the children it serves and for the volunteers and broader community.

Walking through AJ Katzenmaier School with Reading Power Executive Director Rebecca Mullen proves the celebrity point. Children call to and beam at us.

“Over 1,200 students have improved their literacy skills since Reading Power launched here almost 10 years ago,” Mullen explains.

That’s 1,200 young people empowered to learn and grow, instead of feeling frustrated and tempted to give up because it is too hard to do alone.

Speaking with Board Member Mindy Mooney and watching tutors in action with students and each other proves the satisfaction and friendship points.

“We are like-minded philanthropists, a delightful group.” Mooney explains, “A bonus is that tutors are always surprised by how much they learn and get back from their work.”

“We call ourselves the Reading Power family.” Mooney beams and continues, “We have potlucks in each other’s homes and an annual appreciation event each May.”

The Reading Power website also conveys the satisfaction and connection volunteers experience with its invitation to serve as it states, “Being a Reading Power tutor is a privilege and a joy. Come share your gifts with these adorable children and enjoy the magic they give back.”

For more information, to donate or to learn about being a tutor, please visit www.readingpowerinc.org