I was first exposed to SMART when Subtext took on the project of redesigning their site, myself to take responsibility for development. As a developer working on a site for hours, mainly focused on code and matching the design layout, it is often unfortunately easy to glaze over the content on the site at hand. However, a few weeks into the project, I was working on building out the volunteer application, and started paying more attention to the content and the program details. I became intrigued when I discovered that some of the schools that SMART works with include Spanish immersion. As a bilingual, I fully support exposing kids to foreign languages at an early age, so naturally, this program peaked my interest and I ended up filling out the same volunteer application that I had built!
For those unfamiliar with the organization, SMART stands for “Start Making a Reader Today.” They work with schools all across the state. Their staff matches up volunteers with students who need extra help or exposure to reading. Their focus is working with kids in grades K-3. The volunteers commit to one hour each week and read with two students for 30 minutes each. Depending on their reading ability and mood that day, the student may choose to read the book themselves or they may decide to have the volunteer read to them. Either way, they are getting quality individual attention from an adult to help them improve their reading ability and foster a lifelong love of reading.
“Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.” -Margaret Fuller
At Subtext, we have recently redefined our mission and brand identity. SMART is an excellent example of what we’ve identified to be an ideal client. They share several of our core values including community sustainability and nurturing social projects. We love that they are a local organization that we can continue to work with on a professional level as well as on a personal level.
The program is just getting started for this school year and there is definitely still a need for volunteers. You have the freedom to choose a site near either your work or home and your hours/days of availability. I will be meeting my two new students the first week of November. I look forward to spreading the joy of reading to our younger generation. For more information about SMART check out their website, and if you’re interested in volunteering please fill out the online volunteer application.