Every week, Clifton Baker, a Lake Highlands resident, attends the second grade at Stults Road Elementary. Baker, however, isn’t there to learn reading. He’s there to help teach it.
As part of the Off Our Rockers Intergenerational Program, Baker volunteers one hour each week to help students learn to read and understand the chosen material.
“I let them read certain books, and if they have problems with any of the words, we go back and learn how to spell them,” he says.
The program, sponsored by the Senior Citizens of Greater Dallas, has about 350 volunteers who help nearly 600 elementary students. Started in 1977, the program recruits volunteers from neighborhood churches and other organizations.
According to Carolyn Hasley, the program’s director, volunteers are not difficult to find. Each of the volunteers are asked to contribute a minimum of one hour a week, but Hasley says many offer to do more.
Teachers at the schools select two to three children a week to spend time with the volunteer, usually ushering in students who are doing poorly in their studies.
“The volunteers usually work with students who need a little more individual attention than the others,” Hasley says.
The volunteers spend their time with the children reading stories or working on educational games and puzzles.
Baker, who has been in the program since October, says he has gained as much through the tutoring as the youngsters.
“I get such a joy out of working with those kids,” he says. “These children are so refreshing to be around.”
For information, call the Senior Citizens of Greater Dallas at 214-823-5700.