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RSVP CONNECTIONS FEBRUARY 2012



Building Blocks to a Better Future

From RSVP Connections; Written by Patricia Dowling on 2012-02-03
Building Blocks  to a Better Future

In Erie County, 43% of children entering kindergarten do not meet minimum benchmarks for language and literacy skills. By 4th grade, 60% of city schoolchildren are behind their targeted reading ability-- a percentage that only increases as they get older. The City of Buffalo, one of the poorest cities in the US, has one of the lowest graduation rates. In 2011, the graduation rate was only 47.3%, and even lower for minority students.

President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness stated that “a widening skills gap is a significant risk to future competitiveness and employment in the United States.”
People with only basic competencies are the most likely to flounder in the rising high-skill, high-wage service economy.

How can you help? Through RSVP, volunteers can get involved in literacy programs that help children, teens, and adults to develop the basic skills needed...(Read More)


LEAP into Literacy!

From RSVP Connections; Written by Carrie Smith on 2012-02-03
LEAP into Literacy!

The mission of Literacy Empowerment Action Plan (L.E.A.P) of WNY is to enable individuals to challenge and change their world through powerful literacy. And we live in an area where “literacy empowerment” is much needed! Organizations such as provide children with the skills and confidence they need but they cannot do it without the help of volunteers – like you!

Dr. Gillian Richardson, Executive Director of L.E.A.P., has a vision and a passion to equip children with not only with the necessary skills for success in literacy but also to share the joy it brings. L.E.A.P’s Powerful Literacy Center and Children's Library located in the Sheridan Parkside Building of Tonawanda, is a place of learning and fun for elementary and middle school children! Students arrive after school. They can browse the wall of books and check them out with their L.E.A.P Library cards. They can sit and...(Read More)


Southside Elementary School

From RSVP Connections; Written by Carrie Smith on 2012-02-03
Southside Elementary School

Volunteers in the classroom can make an astounding and positive change in a child’s learning, attitude and behavior. Volunteers assist teachers and students by sharing their time and love for learning. By providing one-on-one tutoring to children in the classroom, students who are struggling and even those who are over-achieving, are receiving some extra attention and encouragement - and the volunteers are loving the experience! Students working with volunteers not only have higher test scores and improved grades but also demonstrate a better attitude, higher level of self confidence, fewer absences, regularly complete homework assignments and ultimately are more likely to graduate. And these aren’t just statistics. This is happening every day in the classrooms where RSVP volunteers serve.

RSVP is excited that we now have opportunities for our experienced and dedicated volunteers...(Read More)


Gerard Place Education Center

From RSVP Connections; Written by Patricia Dowling on 2012-02-03
Gerard Place Education Center

Although many of Buffalo’s majestic churches and parochial schools are now shuttered and empty, the former St. Gerard rectory and school (now known as “Gerard Place”) is a vibrant place where struggling families can find safe housing, education and job training and other critical services. The school building is now 14 one-and –two bedroom apartments for single-parent families. The rectory has been turned into the Gerard Place Education Center, offering a range of educational programs, including GED classes. GED students may live in the apartments or in the surrounding Bailey-Delavan neighborhood with over 25% unemployment and over 30% of residents do not have a high school diploma.

RSVP volunteer Ed White drives once a week from Springville to tutor at Gerard Place. A retired nurse anesthesiologist, he found that he enjoyed teaching adults when he gave a class for graduate...(Read More)


Journey's End Refugee Services

From RSVP Connections; Written by Patricia Dowling on 2012-02-03
Journey

In the heart of Buffalo, 26 people from Somalia, Nepal, Burma, Iraq and Eritrea are gathered for animated discussion - No, it’s not a special meeting of a United Nations committee. It is a class of refugees learning English as a Second Language (ESL).
The class is divided into two groups. On one side of the room, two volunteers (a retired teacher and a UB student) explain the different values of US coins and paper bills – along with a mini-US history lesson using the faces pictured on the bills: Washington, Lincoln, Hamilton, Jackson, Grant, and Franklin. After the students master the difference between a penny and dime, they’ll move on to the greater challenges of money --- how to manage it, how to pay bills and other day-to-day considerations.
Meanwhile on the other side of the room, ESL Coordinator Tim Hartigan shows a photo of a family gathered for dinner. The group struggles...(Read More)





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