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Jane Furuseth: RSVP volunteers: Preparing students for success

BEMIDJI — Volunteering with America Reads is a fun and rewarding way to make a big difference in the life of a child in our community.  

The program has 30 volunteers listening to students read. The ‘America Reads Challenge’ was initiated in 1997, challenging every American to help our children learn to read well and independently by the end of elementary school.   More volunteers are needed and welcome to help meet this challenge.

The Retired & Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) invites men and women, age 55 and older, to volunteer with the America Reads program at one of the elementary schools in Beltrami or northern Cass County. The mission of the program is to promote literacy skills and positive reading habits of students. Volunteers listen to students read in one-on-one or small group settings. America Reads volunteers are role models for students and encourage positive attitudes toward lifelong learning.

All volunteers are screened before they start working with students. The screening includes an application, interview, references and background check. Approved volunteers receive an orientation and are then matched with a teacher. Volunteers can choose the school that is most convenient for them and typically spend one to two hours per week at the school.

Contact Jane Furuseth, RSVP/America Reads Area Coordinator, for an America Reads volunteer application or for more information about the RSVP program. Call:  218-766-9494 or email:  RSVP/America Reads receives funding from the United Way of the Bemidji Area.