Allen College of Nursing students are volunteering this semester with 2nd grader students at Highland Elementary. The twenty-two nursing students are Reading Buddies with approximately 80 2nd graders and also help the children with their classroom writing and math assignments. Each volunteer spends up to three hours every week in a 2nd grade classroom.
Mrs. Denise Gehrke, 2nd Grade Teacher at Highland, is very appreciative of the help she is receiving from the nursing students.
“The Allen volunteers were eager to help in any way that they could. Listening to the students read, working on writing activities, and playing math games, were just a few of the ways they helped. Because some of them spent the whole afternoon with the class, they needed to be flexible and positive to the emotional needs of the students. They were a humongous help to me, offering to sit by a student who became frustrated and shut down, or stepping out in the hall with a small group of students to read a theme book.
The students got experiences that I as a teacher could not have been able to give them. One of the activities was to brainstorm sensory words for reading and writing. Each of the volunteers was given one or two students at a time to explore a few different “sensory” tubs with different items in them. The students had a chance to explore and think of how these things looked, felt, and smelled with the guidance of these caring adults. The list of all these sensory words is now on my wall to help them in their writing. These Allen students really were there to help the students and would do anything they could to help them learn.”
By the time the nursing students fulfill their community service project, the 2nd graders will have received more than three hundred hours of one- on-one assistance from a caring adult.
The Allen students volunteering in Mrs. Gehrke’s class shared that “Mrs. Gehrke was great to work with! She and her students made it a welcoming environment for us. Not only were we helping second graders but also helped the Highland students to be active members in our community.”
This partnership is a wonderful opportunity for our children and sets a GREAT example of how our community can get involved. Consider setting up your own “team” of friends. Meet your friends for breakfast and follow that with a trip to school to listen to children read. For information on more volunteering options please contact Julie Ehlers.