Honoring Reading Mentors

On May 8, the Houston Independent School District (HISD), in partnership with the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation, hosted a Read Houston Read Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast at the Children's Museum of Houston. Read Houston Read is a volunteer-based reading intervention program for first and second graders in which members of the community contribute at least 30 minutes each week to read to or with a child either online or in person. This year, nearly 700 volunteers participated in the Read Houston Read Program. We are grateful for the time they spent not only improving the reading levels of children, but also serving as their mentors.
 
During the event, Lance Menster, HISD Officer of Elementary Curriculum and Development, Michael Lunceford and Holly Maria Flynn Vilaseca, HISD District Board of Education Trustees, and Neil Bush, Co-Chairman of the Foundation, addressed volunteers to express their gratitude for their hard work and commitment to reversing the cycle of low literacy in Houston. Two very special volunteers, Cathy Geis and Cynthia Bryant, were named Read Houston Read Volunteers of the Year for going above and beyond in their volunteerism. In a short video feature before accepting her award, online volunteer Bryant met her student for the first time. Tears welled up as she approached the podium to speak. "When you're with a student for a year, it's like adopting a child. I had never met her before so being able to see her for the first time really made me emotional," Bryant said. 

In-person volunteer Geis, who along with Bryant said she plans to volunteer again next year, said her goal is to impart a love of reading to the children. "It's a wonderful opportunity. I like to read, and I love to help children develop that same enthusiasm and begin to realize how important reading is - that if they can read, that's the key to life and having hours and hours of enjoyment." We encourage you to view the brief, but powerful videos on Cathy Geis and Cynthia Bryant

From left: Volunteer mentor stands with Carley Colton, HISD Literacy Specialist, and Neil Bush.

From left: Volunteer mentor stands with Carley Colton, HISD Literacy Specialist, and Neil Bush.