YMCA Reads!

Volunteer Stories

Volunteers make YReads! successful. By connecting with professional, caring adults, we're providing students mentors for the classroom, and also for life. Listen to these stories from our volunteers who gave their time and have gotten much in return. 




“I am very satisfied with this program. My son can read better now. He likes to read at home and I don’t even have to tell him to go get a book: he picks them up on his own! His whole attitude is better, not just about reading, but about doing his homework, too. Now, he practices writing on his own, when he would have never done that before. I get reports from Miss Dorene about what they are doing here. She gives us tips about helping at home. This is a great program!”


“This is my daughter’s first year in this program. She was in private school up till now, and I enrolled her because she has speech delays. I knew she would get better services here than in her previous school. I try my best to keep track of her progress. I keep a binder of all her tests and reports. It helps me see her progress from month-to-month. This program has helped me a lot as a parent: Miss White gives me information all the time, with ideas and resources for working at home when something needs special attention. Since my daughter started at Garden and in this program, I can see that she has made a lot of progress. I know she still has a long way to go, because there is the FCAT in March. This has helped me a lot. I am very grateful to the school for this program.”


“My daughter started YREADS last year in first grade. She was behind in reading and in speech. She still has issues and she gets stuck on some words, but her reading has definitely improved. The school was thinking of retaining her in first grade, but she started in this program 2 days a week, plus was in another tutoring program and she got help from the school, too. These programs complemented each other. She never complained about having to stay after school. She loves it! I feel very fortunate that she got all this help, so she got to go to 2nd grade. What she learns in the classroom is reinforced in a 1-on-1 or 2-to-1 situation, and that’s just what she needs. She loves books now: she always has one in her hands. I am very satisfied with this program!



“This is my second year of volunteering…[and I] will most likely be back next year. Last year, we had a boy that could barely read at the beginning of the year, and by the end of the year he was reading one to two grades above level. It was amazing.His self-esteem improved, helping him was very gratifying.


I like to spend a few minutes at the end of each session, just talking with the students and letting them draw me a picture. A picture is worth a thousand words. Do you know, in almost every picture, one of my students will always draw me and her doing an activity, today she drew a picture of both of us on the swings. She always tells me, this is me, and this is you. It’s very rewarding knowing your making a difference, there’s so much potential.”


“What I appreciate here is the fact that we get to work with children one-on-one or with a very small group. That is such a luxury for someone like me who used to have an entire classroom at a time! I used to see 900 children a week because I taught music, theater and fine arts. In this setting, we get to really see where the learning process is breaking down so we can address it right then and there. No wonder the children are making progress! They know what is expected from them because there is a routine. Things are consistent and predictable in the SIPPS program and in the program as a whole. That’s what they need, because they have focus issues, so this structure keeps them grounded. This is a great program, so I love coming here. I just love those kids!”


“I enjoy working with the students. I usually do SIPPS or Making Meaning with them. If they don’t get done with a SIPPS lesson, they stay on the lesson until we feel they are able to move on to the next lesson. We collect every guided dictation lesson. We keep the students moving through groups. They will do SIPPS then we will have them read a book, and tell us a verbal summary of what they read, or some other comprehension skill. They will have to also do a Making Meaning lesson. It’s a great program.