Monday, 23 July
Seven years ago, Jan Pedersen (right) decided she was concerned about children having difficulty with their reading and recognized that the best way to teach children at an early age was for someone to go in and help them. She spread the word in the South West and later in the Metropolitan area.
Fast forward: Hands Up 4 Kids is a community-based, student assistance program for primary schools to make a tangible contribution towards improved reading abilities for students selected as needing this help.
To address literacy barriers, Regional Coordinator Jan Akaczonek (second from left) expressed the need for more volunteers who can work a minimum of one hour a week - which is easy to find even in a very busy schedule. Volunteers are placed under the direction of partnering schools and assigned to one teacher/classroom throughout the whole year which gives them the chance to develop a strong relationship with the children. No training is needed as it’s really all about listening to the children, supporting and helping them break down words and, of course, comprehension comes into it as well.
Volunteers are allowed to come and go as needed (e.g. family appointments/holidays) and HU4K try to keep in close contact with them. Volunteers are, understandably, insisted upon to have a Working with Children Card, provide referees, abide by HU4K’s non-negotiable code of conduct, and sign a confidentiality agreement.
Clearly, this is not something that Jan P and Jan A do for instant gratification. They are here to try and help not just the community now, but the future community as well, and as an organisation, they act, belong, and commit to give children a better chance to achieve their life goals.