Read and Feed is the August 2018 3-Degree Guarantee charity of the month.
Read and Feed provides a mobile classroom for students in Wake County. When boarding one of their mobile classrooms, the sounds you hear would make you think that you are hearing a reading session in a classroom at your local school.
The children, ranging from kindergarten to fifth grade, are in a classroom that comes to their neighborhood.
“You come to read and read(ing) is fun,” said fourth grader Yostin
Yostin and his younger sister attend Cary Elementary. They come once a week to this classroom that arrives in their neighborhood every Thursday.
“I told her that she has to try her best to read, because she doesn’t know that much English,” Yostin said.
“That is what is so wonderful about our program. Because we are mobile, we can take the resources to the children; and many of these children don’t have access to these resources,” said program coordinator Kati Mullan.
Inside the mobile classroom, kids find books and games that volunteers use with them to help strengthen their literacy skills.
“I do feel like I have relationships with these kids,” said volunteer Maureen Sawchek. “I miss them when we are on break. I know when they have new things coming up, what’s going on in their families, and they ask about me too. So that ongoing relationship is really great.”
Read and Feed works will local schools that recommend students who can benefit from a reading program. After parents approve, selected students attend the reading sessions and even get books to keep to help build their home libraries.
They also get meals.
“We know that having a meal is an important part of our program because children cannot learn if they’re hungry; and we partner with the Interfaith Food Shuttle that provides the meals for many of our children,” Mullan said.
“Pizza and sometimes they have fruit and vegetables and chicken, and I like that,” Yostin said.
When the sessions are over, if the students are courteous and respectful while doing their reading and writing, they can earn up to four “book bucks.” They can then “spend” those “book bucks” on different toys and prizes that are displayed in a cubby hole in the mobile classroom.
Yostin likes getting those “book bucks.”
“I get happy when I get something, because it’s something that you don’t have at home.”
“For these children, like I said, to receive the mentoring and the nurturing, and for the volunteers who show up every single week, what we’re showing these children is, that we’re a community that cares about them,” Mulan said.
During the 2017-2018 school year, Read and Feed had 20 program sites across Wake County. Eight of the sites meet in a mobile classroom while the remaining meet in facilities hosted by churches, Boys and Girls Clubs, and Communities in Schools sites in neighborhoods.