Paula Newman, mother of three and grandmother of four, keeps herself busy during her retirement years by volunteering with Read2Succeed. As a former middle school teacher for 21 years, elementary counselor, and high school counselor, her passion for helping the upcoming generation is infused in her DNA.
For over 10 years, Paula has been the coordinator of volunteer work at Vineville United Methodist Church. This church has worked with the kids at L.H. Williams Elementary School for over 30 years! Initially, it began with a summer camp that emphasized the importance of literacy. Over the years, the volunteer work has grown and changed, but their mission has remained the same: to make a difference in the lives of children.
Is your volunteer group looking for a way to give back to our community? Volunteer with Read2Succeed!
When Paula and her Vineville volunteer group began working with Read United two years ago, they took their volunteer hours seriously. “To whom much is given, much is expected,” Paula said. “I feel like we are making a difference in the community. I think we can do even more! Our Read2Succeed volunteers help in any way they can – aiding the teachers, reading with the kids, help with crafts, and more. What we do varies greatly. ”
During the Spring 2017 semester, Paula tutored four 1st graders every Wednesday. She started each session asking them how they were and what they’ve been up to in order to gain their trust and show them that she cares. During her tutoring sessions, they practiced sight words, took turns reading books, and worked on difficult words and their meanings. Because she tutored once a week, she saw improvements and accomplishments on a weekly basis. Paula said,
“Anytime they read a book front to back and enjoy it, that’s a huge accomplishment! As the kids get excited about the story itself, I see their pure joy. When they begin to read better and can understand what they’re reading, the story comes to life and is not just words on a page.”
When a group of people unite for a cause as important as literacy, the entire community benefits from it. Because every child is different and has different needs, volunteers are needed to help our students succeed! It’s not only extremely important on an academic level, but on a personal level.
“They love the time that we give them,” Paula said. “Sometimes parents are so busy trying to put food on the table and they need a helping hand. We need to volunteer to help our community and the next generation!”