Love kids and books? United Way needs Literacy Corps volunteers

literacy corps volunteers needed – web

With the start of the new school year rapidly approaching, the Char-Em United Way Literacy corps will soon be getting back into action and looking for new members to fill needs in area schools.

Over the past three years, 115 local adults have been recruited and placed into schools that have expressed a need for assistance in teaching students to read and for general tutoring.


Volunteers have helped in Petoskey, Boyne City, Harbor Springs, Charlevoix, Boyne Falls, and St. Francis schools as well as Crooked Tree, Boyne District, Jordan Valley District, Charlevoix Public, and Petoskey District libraries along with a few preschools. Among the schools benefitting during the 2014-15 school year was Central Elementary School in Petoskey.

Seven Literacy Corps members were able to work out a schedule that fit both the needs of the school and their own lives.

In total, the Literacy Corps members gave 11 hours of assistance each week to the students of Central Elementary.

“The benefits of volunteering extend beyond the student,” stated Cal Prins, Principal of Central Elementary. “Our volunteers are enriched by the experience as well.  Volunteers become more familiar with our school and the programs we offer.  They develop relationships with our staff and students.  Our volunteers have the satisfaction of knowing they are helping students during a very important stage in their development, while creating an important link between the school and the community.”

Literacy Corps member, Jay Scherr, was enthusiastic about his experience during his first year of helping some of the fourth grade students. “It was truly a pleasure as well as enlightening.  Especially so, Greek Literature I never anticipated.  Great stuff!! Barring the unforeseen, I plan to continue in Mrs. Kanine’s class this coming fall,” said Scherr.

Once the school year is back in full swing and teachers and principals are able to assess the volunteer needs in area schools, a training session for new Literacy Corps volunteers will be scheduled and anyone interested will be able to register.

Volunteers go through a background check, a short training session, and are allowed to choose a location most convenient to them.  Last fall’s new recruits were placed in schools such as Petoskey, Harbor Springs, and Boyne City.

There were more needs expressed than volunteers to fill them.

If you would like to volunteer through this program at an area school or library, please call the Char-Em United Way office at 231-487-1006 or email at

The Literacy Corps is an educational initiative of Char-Em United Way and has a goal of placing 150 volunteers into local schools to support all the children of Charlevoix and Emmet Counties.

More details on volunteer needs and the next literacy training schedule will be publicized in the fall. This information will also be available at
When asked about her experience while working at Central Elementary last spring, Literacy Corps member Linda Boyer responded, “I really enjoy the children.”