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Make a difference to Baltimore County's youngest learners

9/20/2013, 5:48 a.m.

— During the last school year, retired senior volunteers assisted nearly 900 young learners in the classroom, preparing them for their big step to first grade.

Through a partnership between Baltimore County Public Schools and the Baltimore County Department of Aging-Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), volunteers served at 41 elementary schools throughout the county and contributed over 4,000 hours of service.

As the 2013-2014 school year begins, more volunteers are needed to make an even larger impact on our youngest learners. Our volunteers create the best possible learning experience for the students and are a valuable resource to teachers. Volunteers will have the opportunity to work directly in the classroom to help kindergarten students gain the social and cognitive skills needed to be successful in first grade and beyond.

Within the classroom, volunteers will greet the students and assist them in starting their day, during lunch and dismissal. Under the direction of the teacher, volunteers may work with small groups on skill development. During instruction time, volunteers may sit with students and assist in redirecting those who need help with focusing on the instruction; listen and encourage the students as they practice reading and math skills. More importantly, volunteers will share their love of learning and enthusiasm about acquiring new skills with the young learners.

If you are a caring and patient individual willing to commit six hours (or more) per week, consider joining a vibrant group of volunteers, who work in kindergarten classes throughout Baltimore County. You must pass a background screening and attend orientation; then, you will work with a coordinator to schedule your assignment.

For more information, call the Retired Senior Volunteer Program at 410-887-2715 or email: volunteers@baltimorecountymd.gov.