Lead by a small but passionate group of volunteers, the Book Buddy Program was recently launched at Tillicum Annex and MacDonald Elementary schools. Originally established to provide opportunities for retired people to read, one-to-one, with Inner City School children, the program has now grown to include part-time workers, university students, and those looking for unique volunteering opportunities.
At the Tillicum launch of the program, Patti Bacchus, the Chairperson for the Vancouver Board of Education, was recently made an honourary Book Buddy.
"Book Buddy's goal is to transfer a joy of reading," says Steve Boyce, the Book Buddy Program volunteer coordinator. "There is no pressure on the student; we accept each student's involvement at whatever level they may read. Book Buddies is about literacy support and a passion for books."
Buddied pairs read together in the morning, for about half an hour. Students in the program range in age from Kindergarten through to Grade 5, and each school determines which grade levels they want to be involved.
Boyce says it's a great opportunity for retirees, or those with some extra time in the morning, to give back to their community.
"As our population ages, there is an increasing number of experienced and educated retired people who have the time and interest in participating in a dynamic activity," says Boyce, "But it's also a great volunteering opportunity for part-time workers or university students. Our challenge is getting the word out."
People interested in learning more about the Book Buddy Program can e-mail BookBuddy2013@gmail.com