Local organization seeking volunteers who can help children read

By WVUA 23 News Reporter Elise Anzaldua

TUSCALOOSA – A local nonprofit focused on ensuring children don’t get left behind in reading skills is looking for more volunteers. A lot more.

Reading Allies needs more than 750 volunteers as it expands its services to six Tuscaloosa city and county schools.

Reading Allies co-director Claire Stebbins said volunteers can change children’s lives for the better.

“It is deeply impactful when you have a little kid come up to you during an assembly where the parents are there and they say ‘Dad, I want you to meet Miss Claire. She taught me how to read’ and then looks at you and says ‘Can you teach my little brother too?’ ” said Stebbins.

Formed in 2017, the organization puts students in need with one-on-one tutors who can help them catch up with their peers.

This year, that’s more important than ever.

“Children came back after COVID-19 and we saw things like having to teach kids how to hold a pencil again and how to flip the pages of a book,” Stebbins said. “We definitely saw kids after the pandemic with reading levels much lower than any of us expected and the volume of students was greater, but it’s been amazing to see how quickly those students have rebounded.”

The volunteer program takes place over 10 weeks and is open to anyone in the community who has a heart for teaching children the love for reading.

Interested in volunteering? You can sign up right here.

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