The halls of Dunbar Elementary rustle with the echoes of children rushing to their classrooms. A few times a week, a group from Highland Park Pres meet students in a room upstairs with scattered tables and book cases overflowing with exciting reads. When the clock strikes 11:30, third graders scurry into this room to find their Reading Buddy and explore the pages of a new book. This has become a highlight of their school days as they excitedly ask when the next Reading Buddies time will be.
In Dunbar Elementary’s neighborhood, families are struck by the realities of poverty. One of those being more than 58% of third graders do not read at grade level leading to a perpetual cycle of poverty. When Mark Nall heard of these statistics, he was convicted to help this area just 20 minutes away from our own neighborhood.
“I know the value of education in children, and I wanted to help others learn, especially inner city kids,” says Mark, who has had two reading buddies over the past couple of years. “Now, I’m reading with Ladarren. He’s eager to learn, has a great attitude, and disposition. I pray for Ladarren and our time together. I have truly been blessed by my Reading Buddies.” Through the one-on-one time spent reading with these third graders, test scores have increased by 37% showing a tangible difference in the life of our city.
There are plenty of volunteer spots open to help kids sharpen their reading skills needed to escape the cycle of poverty in South Dallas. Sign up for Reading Buddies now to make a lasting impact on a child’s life and the future of our city at hppres.org/reading-buddies.