United Way program seeks volunteers in Lafayette

Advocae staff photo by BRAD BOWIE -- Donna Tolbert, a United Way Readers volunteer, and 6-year-old first-grader Jayden Walker read a book together on Wednesday afternoon at Alice Boucher Elementary school in Lafayette. The program is going to begin training for new volunteers soon. Show caption
Advocae staff photo by BRAD BOWIE -- Donna Tolbert, a United Way Readers volunteer, and 6-year-old first-grader Jayden Walker read a book together on Wednesday afternoon at Alice Boucher Elementary school in Lafayette. The program is going to begin training for new volunteers soon.

Volunteers are needed to help Lafayette Parish first- and second-grade students improve their reading skills.

The United Way of Acadiana will hold two trainings this month for volunteers interested in becoming part of its United Way Readers program.

As part of the program, volunteers are paired students to help them practice their reading for up to one hour per week over a 10-week period.

“Research shows that students who miss an opportunity to read at grade level by fourth grade are four times more likely to not graduate on time, and United Way Readers help by offering extra reading practice,” Keler Williams, director of volunteer mobilization, said in a news release.

In 2012, 341 United Way Readers worked with 449 students in 21 schools in Acadia, Lafayette and St. Martin parishes.

Training sessions for volunteers will be offered from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Jan. 15 and Jan. 20 at the United Way of Acadiana office, 215 E. Pinhook Road, Lafayette.

The next training opportunities for volunteers will be offered in the fall.

For more information about United Way Readers or to register for a training, visit: www.UnitedWayofAcadiana.org/uwreaders or contact Chelsey Roberie, senior volunteer mobilization coordinator, at (337) 706-1226 or chelsey.roberie@unitedwayofacadiana.org.