Volunteering opportunities available for OKCPS
Oklahoma City Public Schools is welcoming applications for dedicated volunteers wanting to make a meaningful impact on students through a new virtual environment. Virtual volunteering will look and feel different from in-person volunteer work, but with the same goal of helping students academically, while developing mentorship relationships.
Last year about 500 caring adults spent time each week with students across the district as Reading Buddies, primarily in elementary schools. Plans for 2020-21 are to expand to secondary schools this year.
Virtual volunteering will involve one adult paired with a small group of three to four students and will take place on Wednesdays for 30 minutes. It will happen through an online platform, and Reading Buddies will access online books to read and discuss. Designed to improve the reading skills of OKCPS students and inspire them to develop a love of reading, Reading Buddies continues to grow in popularity each year.
“The application process is relatively simple, but a volunteer’s commitment to take part weekly is critical,” said Mary Melon, CEO/President of the OKCPS Foundation. “Helping students increase their reading level is vital to their success in school, and volunteers play a huge role by supplementing the teachers’ role.”
Volunteers should submit an application and background check authorization. Once approved, a school site coordinator will make the assignment. Coordinated training will follow before a connection with the student group happens. Students involved with virtual volunteers will have a signed consent form from their parent or guardian, and there will be transparency/recording of each virtual volunteer session to guarantee security. Volunteers are encouraged to apply by completing an application at www.okcps.org/volunteers.
“The importance of consistent and positive interaction with a caring adult is how this program succeeds,” Melon said. “For too many of our students, this is the only one they have in their lives outside of their teachers and other school personnel. The mentorship and role modeling these relationships have over time can literally change the trajectory of a child’s life.”
For more information on Virtual Volunteering/Reading Buddies contact Abbie Vaughan, ReadOKC and Events Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.