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Volunteers Wanted for New Southern Iowa RSVP Program
Iowa Ag Connection - 01/08/2019

Southern Iowa RSVP (Retired and Senior Volunteer Program) is currently recruiting volunteers for a new program, Literacy Leaders, in Decatur and Ringgold counties.

The Literacy Leaders program is a collaboration between Southern Iowa RSVP and the Graceland University School of Education; and it's a partnership that makes sense. Southern Iowa RSVP connects volunteers 55 and over with community organizations, and the Graceland School of Education's unique approach allows students to decide how they would like to learn for the lifelong learning and enhancement of overall quality of life.

With involvement from both groups, Literacy Leaders connects community volunteers with students in local early learning centers to teach early reading concepts using books. The volunteers focus on teaching students the role of the author and illustrator, where to begin reading, and print concepts. The goal of the program is to promote literacy in early learning centers while sharing the joy of reading with each individual student.

"The program is a win-win situation. Young children gain from having another caring adult in their life and experience the joy of listening to books; the volunteers get the satisfaction of knowing they are helping build a solid foundation for all the literary skills to follow," said Jane Hall Chaillie, EdD, Assistant Professor of Education at Graceland University.

"Literacy leaders give children the opportunity to explore books and develop the concepts needed for early reading. I feel extremely fortunate to be a part of a program that will expand the minds of children," said Seth Baumfalk, a student at Graceland University.

Volunteer training will be provided by Dr. Chaillie's class Dec. 12 at Graceland University, and the program will run from January 2019 through April 2019. The Literacy Leaders pilot program will be implemented in two early learning centers with the goal of expanding the program in the four-county area (Decatur, Ringgold, Clarke and Union counties) in late spring.

Lisa Kolb, Southern Iowa RSVP Program Director said, "We are very excited about Literacy Leaders. When we reached out to Dr. Jane Hall Chaillie and her class about helping design a school readiness program for Southern Iowa RSVP, their enthusiasm was contagious. They have created a great opportunity for the preschoolers in our area."

Graceland University student Kamryn Leavitt emphasized how excited she was to have the opportunity to be involved with Literacy Leaders. "The Literacy Leaders program is a great opportunity for multiple people from the community to get involved," said Leavitt.

Southern Iowa RSVP is dedicated to connecting volunteers 55 and over with community organizations in Decatur, Clarke, Union and Ringgold counties. Those interested in volunteering with Literacy Leaders or other Southern Iowa RSVP volunteer opportunities can contact the office at 641.784.5046 or via email at lisak1@graceland.edu.

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