ONFE’s Volunteer Month continues! This week, we’re highlighting the outstanding passion and dedication of Sander Geophysics staff, who’ve been inspiring a love of reading in kindergarten students at General Vanier Public School since 2009.
Kindergarten students at General Vanier Public School get a special treat every Friday between 10:00 and 11:00 a.m., as a pair of volunteers from Sander Geophysics join the students and read to them in a one-on-one setting. Roughly half the student population at the school are newcomers learning English; volunteers play a key role in developing children’s essential literacy skills.
As a kindergarten teacher, Jessica knows that reading to children is critical in cultivating literacy skills: “The OttawaReads volunteers connect with each child individually as they read them a story and listen to their ideas. We are so appreciative of the time they take to come to our school to help our students develop a lifelong love of reading.”
It’s not just teachers who see for themselves the powerful impact only a couple of volunteers have on young minds. Office administrators are quick to point out that volunteers are indispensable: “Kids look forward to it. We love honouring them during our volunteer breakfast during National Volunteer Week in April. They seem to really enjoy coming here, and it’s a really good way to give back.”
Through her volunteer experience with our OttawaReads program, Ania has had the opportunity to witness the blossoming imagination of the young students; when she opens a book, children often recite their very own entertaining stories! It’s through this creativity that Ania sees the impact of her reading: “Even the children that are most shy and reserved tend to come out of their shell when reading together. When you see children super excited to pick a book they’d like to read or sounding out words along with you and turning pages in excitement, you know they truly enjoy that time and you are making a small, but significant, impact in their lives.”
Her co-worker, Jennifer, also appreciates the opportunity to read to kindergarten students: “I think it is important to volunteer in the community because it makes a better society for everyone. I was a very shy child and I believe this kind of interaction with an adult would have given me extra confidence and better self esteem at a younger age.”
Luc also enjoys giving back to our community through Sander Geophysics’ partnership with ONFE, where he has the chance to notice the kids’ improvements. He once read to a student who managed to hide the fact that she didn’t speak English. When he read to her again seven months later, her English was incredible! Luc highlights the positive impacts of his experience: “It makes me feel good and I believe that a community is only better when people participate in its development.”
Lindsay, who’s volunteered with charitable organizations like the Ottawa Food Bank and Let’s Talk Science, enjoys giving back to her community. The students she volunteers with are quite young, so the impact of her volunteer work is not always plain to see, but every now and then a student leaves a mark. She recounts the heartwarming story of a child who loved being read to and drew a picture of her cat as a gift to the volunteer team. “Occasionally you get very active children, and it’s nice to know that they are excited and that we are making them happy that day by reading books together.”
Thank you, Sander Geophysics!
Corporate volunteering is a fantastic way for your team to give back to our community. To get involved, check out our list of group volunteering opportunities, or contact Lee-Ann Scott, Director, Ottawa Volunteers in Education.