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.

Angel Giving Tree Program, Holiday on the Avenue, Scottish Christmas Walk and More: This Week’s Latest ACTion

  • This holiday season, J.C. Penny and the Salvation Army have teamed up to promote the Angel Giving Tree program.  The online program saw 40,000 people participate last year.  You can adopt Angels in Alexandria to help. U.S. citizens who register will be sent a wish list from someone in-need via e-mail, based on criteria they choose, and can purchase goods that UPS will ship for free!
  • On Friday, December 3rd, all Alexandrians are welcome to attend “Holiday on the Avenue“- Del Ray’s holiday tree lighting.  It will take place from 6-9 PM and refreshments will be provided.  For more info, call (703) 746-3301.
  • Also that Friday and through the following Saturday, Old Town will play host to the 40th Annual Scottish Christmas Walk Weekend and Parade.  The parade itself begins at 11 AM on Saturday, and will feature over 100 Scottish clans, bagpipe players and more-all to celebrate Old Town’s Scottish heritage.  To learn more, visit the Walk’s official page.  Come join the festivities and look for ACT for Alexandria’s marching brigade headed up by Executive Director John Porter!
  • Check out Gale Curcio‘s article about Dr. Roy Heron and his effort to help minority students at T.C. Williams High School become more invested in their education.  Dr. Heron recently founded the D.C. Metro Area Chapter of the Carson Scholars Fund, which will hold its first fundraiser on Thursday, December 9th at the Embassy of New Zealand from 7-10 PM.
  • For those who’ve been following the possible redevelopment of Jefferson-Houston Elementary, you probably don’t want to miss the Parker-Grey Growler’s coverage of the final public meeting on this controversial project.