The United Way is asking for volunteers to help get kids excited about education

MONROE, La. (KNOE) - The United Way is working to inspire young kids to enjoy reading. Through their Read. Learn. Succeed Initiative second and third graders will get a volunteer to read with them for 30 min a week through the school year.

The United Way is trying to help kids enjoy reading at a young age. (KNOE) -

Michelle Saucer is the Community Initiatives Coordinator with the United Way of Northeast Louisiana.

She says the program started in 2012 with a small number of schools, and now they have 14 schools across Union, Ouachita, and Lincoln parishes that participate. They have around 200 students signed up to participate this school year, which means they need hundreds of volunteers to help.

"If a student doesn't know how to read by the time they complete third grade they're four times more likely to drop out of high school,” says Saucer.

Saucer says students are identified by their test scores as children who may benefit from extra help. She says the program works too because the students’ scores improve.

“And to increase our graduation rate, we want to work with the students right here where they are at that second and third-grade level,” explains Saucer. “And ensure that these students are enjoying reading because reading is the foundation of all education."

At the end of the day, Saucer says it’s not all about the test scores; it’s about getting kids to enjoy reading and their education.

"They're paired with a volunteer who actually encourages them and most times our kids just need that small amount of encouragement,” says Saucer, “because in the classroom there are so many students to one teacher that they don't get that one on one opportunity."

There are multiple training dates for volunteers in Monroe, Ruston, and Farmerville. They ask that volunteers are at least 18 years old. Here’s a link to sign up.

Where:
United Way of NELA
1201 Hudson Lane
Monroe, La 71201

When:
Sept. 19th 11 – 11:30 a.m., and 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Sept. 20th 8 – 8:30 a.m., 11 – 11:30 a.m., and 5:30 – 6 p.m.
Sept. 26th 11 – 11:30 a.m., and 5:30 – 6 p.m.
Oct. 3rd 11 – 11:30 a.m., and 5:30 – 6 p.m.
Oct. 4th 8 – 8:30 a.m., 11 – 11:30 a.m., and 5:30 – 6 p.m.

Where:
United Way of NELA Ruston Office
939 North Trenton,
Ruston, La 71270

When:
Sept. 17th 8:30 – 9 a.m., and 11 – 11:30 a.m., and 5:30 – 6 p.m.
Sept. 18th 8:30 – 9 am., 11 – 11:30 a.m., and 5:30 – 6 p.m.
Oct. 1st 8:30 – 9 am., 11 – 11:30 a.m., and 5:30 – 6 p.m.

Where:
Marion State Bank
718 Sterlington Hwy,
Farmerville, La 71241

When:
Sept. 24th 8:30 – 9 am., 11 – 11:30 a.m., and 5 – 5:30 p.m.
Sept. 25th 8:30 – 9 am., 11 – 11:30 a.m., and 5 – 5:30 p.m.
Oct. 2nd 8:30 – 9 am., 11 – 11:30 a.m., and 5 – 5:30 p.m.