30 Minutes A Week Can Change A Life: Become A Reading Tutor

Do you love to read?  Have you ever watched a child’s imagination come to life when they first begin to read on their own? Unfortunately, many children in Alexandria City Public Schools are at risk of not reading at grade level by the third grade.  Fortunately, The Alexandria Tutoring Consortium’s mission is to provide a foundation for future learning success for first and second grade students.  They need your help, your love of reading, and your enthusiasm!

Alexandria Tutoring Consortium works!

Of the 120 first graders tutored by ATC volunteers last year in the Book Buddies based program, 78% reached or exceeded their literacy benchmarks by the end of the school year.

Why be a tutor?

Learning to read in the first and second grade prepares a student to read to learn during the rest of his or her academic career.  Some children need extra help and just 30 minutes a week from you can give them the advantage they need to succeed.  ATC notes that “first-graders who receive intensive, targeted intervention, even those who have the most difficulty reading, can reach grade-level reading by the end of second grade. With early intervention, more than 90% of children can read at grade level, or better!”

How Alexandria Tutoring Consortium works.

The Alexandria Tutoring Consortium pairs volunteer tutors with Alexandria school children who need help to get up to grade level  reading. Volunteers read one-on-one with a student once or twice a week during the day at school (now through May).  The Alexandria City Public Schools trains all volunteers and provides access to all the necessary materials, volunteers just need to bring a love of reading and a desire to make a difference in the life of a child

Become a tutor today!

New tutors can download an application form and register at the ATC website, or contact them by phone at 703-549-6670 x119.  The website also offers their newsletter, annual report and more information on how you can make a positive difference in the life of an Alexandria child.

Toys for Tots, Wheels to Africa, Alexandria’s Black History Museum and More: This Week’s Latest ACTion

  • Don’t forget, tomorrow (December 14th) is the deadline to drop off donations for Toys for Tots at the Sheriff”s Office.  The City of Alexandria reports that donations are “needed for babies two and younger and children 13 and older.”  Your gifts will be given to the children of those incarcerated at the Alexandria Detention Center. Please contact Deputy Stubblefield at (703) 746-5134 to arrange your donation.
  • Check out this must-read article about  Wheels to Africa, a charity created by Arlington teenager Winston Duncan.  In six years, Duncan and others have sent 2,700 unwanted bikes to Africa.  T.C. Williams served as one of the drop-off locations this past Saturday for this year’s collection event.  Even though it has passed, you can still lend a helping hand by volunteering or donating to this great cause!
  • Looking for a way to get involved in your city? The Alexandria Commission for the Arts is in need of volunteers to serve on various panels.  All members are required to serve three-year terms, during which they will help approve grants and funding for the 2012 fiscal year.  To learn more, visit theAlexandria Commission for the Arts.
  • To kick off its new exhibit, “Style and Identity: Black Alexandria in the 1970s, Portraits by Horace Day,” Alexandria’s Black History Museum will host an event on Tuesday, December 14th.  The new exhibition will feature scenes of Alexandria and portraits of African American Alexandrians.  Read the official press release to find out more about the event and Day’s work.
  • Last week, the Carlyle Community blog detailed the upcoming visit of 150 1st Graders from Mount Vernon Community School to the Alexandria Sanitation Authority to learn about the importance of clean water.  The field trip was part of World Water Monitoring Day, celebrated throughout the world. You can see photos and videos of the field trip on the ASA’s Facebook page

Mentor a Child, Change Two Lives: Alexandria Mentoring Partnership

The teenage years are often a lonely and confusing time in one’s life. And according to the Alexandria Mentoring Program, 50% of Alexandria’s young people live in situations that put them at risk of not living up to their full potential. With mentoring, that risk is dramatically reduced.

That is why, in 2006, The City of Alexandria and Alexandria City Public Schools officials sought to strengthen programs for youth throughout Alexandria by starting the Alexandria Mentoring Partnership.

Why Mentor?

Just 4 hours a month can change a young person’s future!

Mentoring decreases the risk of crime, teen pregnancy, gang involvement, drug abuse and poor school performance. By becoming a mentor, you are changing two lives and making an investment in your community. Each mentored child has the potential to give to others like them the same support and care they have received. There’s a reason 99% of mentors recommend becoming a mentor to others.

How Mentoring Works

No prior experience is required, the AMP provides you with extensive training on how to be an effective mentor. Mentoring can be one-on-one, school-based, activity based, or group based. Professional guidance and support is available for all mentors. The Alexandria Mentoring Partnership offers several mentoring programs including the iMovie Mentors, which produced the video above.

Become A Mentor Today!

To help make their vision a reality, and to truly change a young person’s life, visit the AMP website, call (703) 746-4506, or email mentoring@alexandriava.gov

————————————-

Note: Tracy Viselli contributed to this column.

Giving in a Bad Economy, Mayor Euille’s Unity Breakfast, Recognizing SCAN and More: This Week’s Latest ACTion

  • With the state of the economy, are you reconsidering giving to your favorite charities during the holidays? Jane Collins wrote an excellent column for her blog, Get Out and Give Back.  In it, she offers advice about donating despite the times.  Check it out!
  • Also read Collins’s coverage of Mayor Euille’s Unity Breakfast, an annual tradition that began in 2003.  ACT Executive Director John Porter attended, stressing to the crowd to remember that like the body’s need for exercise, philanthropy should be a constant activity because it enriches the community.
  • Find out about the work of Stop Child Abuse Now (SCAN) of Northern Virginia on the LocalKicks blog.  The 8th Annual Toast to Hope, held last month, raised funds for the various programs the foundation supports, which aid numerous children and families in the area.
  • Attention Alexandria Residents: The City wants to hear from you! If you would like to voice your opinion on transportation projects and priorities, be sure to attend this Wednesday’s meeting at Beatley Library from 7-9 PM.  For more information, visit the City’s Transportation Page or call (703) 746-4025.
  • Have a passion for the Arts? The Commission for the Arts is looking for volunteers with any experience or interest in literature, music and other forms to help make decisions on grants for the 2012 fiscal year.  To learn more, visit the Commission’s website or contact the Office of the Arts at (703) 746-5588.

It’s a Wonderful (2nd) Life: Adopt a Pet at AWLA

The Animal Welfare League of Alexandria (AWLA) is promoting “It’s a Wonderful (2nd) Life” opportunity for the felines in its care this season.  “In keeping with the annual holiday tradition of the Frank Capra movie classic, AWLA is hoping that animal lovers will find their own special angel “Clarence” to add to their family.”

There are cats and kittens available for adoption and need a chance for a second life in your home.  Adoption fees have been greatly reduced to FREE for some cats!  As a cat owner (my wee little Fiona and the Mighty Mighty Mac Daddy are both from rescue shelters) I can speak from experience that adopted cats overflow with sweetness and love once they are safe and secure in a new home.

“Just as George Bailey found his angel Clarence in the movie, adopters can find their own heavenly feline friend and provide a loving forever home to an animal in need. The AWLA staff believes that “Everytime a bell rings, a kitty finds a new home” and will ring a bell every time a cat gets adopted to celebrate.”

Alexandria may be a dog-centric city and that’s a good thing, but kitties need homes too!  There is no reason dogs and cats can’t live together in peace and harmony.  With your help, and your new cat adoption, you can be a living example of that peace and harmony during this joyous season.

All standard application/adoptions processes, rules and procedures apply.