Have you thought lately about the many ways public safety professionals impact their communities beyond performance of their typical duties? One example is provided by some of the uniformed men and women of Fulton County Fire Rescue Department, who participate in the “Reading Buddies” program at Stonewall Tell Elementary School. Firefighters of the A, B, and C shifts at Fire Station #3 have regularly given of their time and energy over the past four years in support of this program.
Given the importance of early reading skills for success in school and life-long learning in general, public safety members are uniquely positioned to lend support to local school curriculums by capitalizing on their influence to positively impact young readers. Captain James Luster says his experience as a Reading Buddy makes him feel as though he is a part of the solution versus being a part of the problem, and that we should all want to invest in our future, which are the children.
The Reading Buddies program is designed to target 2nd grade readers who might benefit most from supplemental attention. As part of the classroom curriculum, teachers designate students for participation and volunteers sit with them each week for 30 minutes to actively listen.
“I truly believe in the saying 'it takes a village' and often reflect on the value of the adults who mentored me and how a lot of the things they taught me, I continue to apply today,” says Captain Luster. “As a Reading Buddy, it’s nice to see that light bulb come on when they are able to pronounce words that they were not able to before.”