Reading Buddies are a dedicated group of volunteers from Christ Church who work one on one with at risk children in the Neighborhood Learning Center, a program offered at the United Community Centers’ Dream Center in Bradenton, Florida. Reading Buddies provide support for reading instruction as well as general academic assistance. An important component of this program is the relationship developed between the adult Reading Buddy and their child. Reading Buddies serve as positive role models and inspire self-confidence in their children. We agree that “No significant learning occurs without a significant relationship,” as reported by James Comer, Professor of Child Psychiatry at Yale University.
Approximately 50 Church members and friends participate as Reading Buddies, carpooling to East Bradenton at least twice a month on Thursdays from November through April. Opportunities for additional involvement for Reading Buddies include: enrichment days when extra programming in the arts is offered, summer reading support or assistance with reading testing in fall and spring.
Student incentives for attendance, good citizenship and progress, classroom library books, the Parent Open House, the Children’s Christmas Party and an end of the year Awards Assembly are made possible through member and friend donations as well as occasional small grants.