“Every kid is one caring adult away from being a success story.” 

-Joshua Shipp, Youth Advocate

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Readers on the Rooftop Happy Hour

Lead to Read KC supporters gather at WeWork Corrigan Station’s rooftop event space for our
Readers on the Rooftop happy hour.

Readers on the Rooftop was a great event—thank you! We’re grateful to: WeWork for donating the stunning event space; J. Rieger & Co., Manny’s Mexican Restaurant and signatureeventskc for providing awesome drinks and appetizers; Kansas City Life Insurance Company for the wonderful Kansas City Chiefs raffle prize; Friends of Lead to Read KC who helped organize the event—and to everyone who purchased raffle tickets and attended the sold-out event.

Special thanks to Gabe Ortiz for the fabulous event photography! Check out his photos below! You can reach Gabe at: [email protected] or 505.795.5301. 

The view from the WeWork Corrigan Station rooftop is stunning!

Give Success. Direct your United Way donation to Lead to Read KC.

A child’s ability to read proficiently by third grade is a major predictor of high school success and life outcomes. Yet today in Kansas City, only 45 percent of third graders are reading on grade level. In many of our urban core schools, it’s fewer than 25 percent. You can help!

Directing your United Way donation to Lead to Read KC will support our mission to improve third grade literacy by mobilizing community volunteers to read one-to-one with children. Here’s how to direct your donation:

  1. If you’re making a donation of $50 or more, you can direct all or part of your donation. If you’re using an online form, click the Donor Direct link. Or, ask the United Way campaign coordinator at your workplace for a Donor Direct form. 
  2. In the write-in section of the form, indicate you want to direct your donation to Lead to Read KC, and note the amount you want to direct. 
  3. Include Lead to Read KC’s mailing address: 6022 N. Strathbury Ave., Kansas City, MO 64151 AND Employer Identification Number (EIN) 82-1256215 on the form.  
  4. Submit your online form, or return your Donor Direct form to your workplace’s United Way campaign coordinator. Lead to Read KC will then receive your donation from United Way—thank you!

Thank you for considering supporting Lead to Read KC with your United Way donation. 

If you have questions about directing your donation, please contact Sarah Gaikwad: [email protected]

“Every kid is one caring adult away from being a success story.” 

Joshua Shipp, Youth Advocate

Categories: Uncategorized

A little reading makes a big difference

Leah Giangregorio (Teacher at Hope Leadership Academy), J and Don Maxey (Reading Mentor)

Reading Mentor Don Maxey recently shared this story about his experience volunteering with Lead to Read KC: 

“Each Wednesday over my lunch break, I get to hang with my new buddy and friend J at Hope Leadership Academy. I help mentor J as his reading buddy through Lead to Read KC.  How lucky am I? I have never mentored as a reading buddy before, and to my delight I got paired up with J. 

In my life, I have not encountered a more fulfilling opportunity where I give such a short amount of time and am so richly rewarded. The true heroes are the teachers who work with these kids every day–but this is a chance to help support them in their mission, mentor a child, and make a new friend!” ~ Don Maxey, Lead to Read KC Reading Mentor from Hallmark 

Ms. Leah Giangregorio, J’s teacher at Hope Leadership Academy, shared this: 

“Each Wednesday, Mr. Don comes to read with J. Mr. Don was ready to jump in and help J in any way possible. It has been so refreshing watching their relationship grow every week. Before, J didn’t show much interest in school. Now, he loves coming to school on Wednesdays and loves when it’s time for Lead to Read KC. That’s all due to J’s time with Mr. Don. Mr. Don makes him feel like such an excellent reader and even shares his personal life with J, which makes J feel like they are best buddies. I am so thankful for reading mentors like Mr. Don who help make my job easier as a teacher.”        ~ Ms. Leah Giangregorio, First Grade Teacher, Hope Leadership Academy

Thank you to Mr. Don and Ms. Giangregorio for your dedication and for sharing this heartwarming story! 

Lead to Read KC volunteers are more than reading buddies. They are mentors, cheerleaders, and friends–caring, dependable adults in the lives of students.

Want to become a Lead to Read KC Reading Mentor? Learn more

Categories: Blog, Uncategorized

Student project shares kindness across state line

First Grade Teacher Amy Oades of Lakewood Elementary in the Blue Valley School District loves to read. Her students do, too. They also love to make cards, so they started a Kindness Cards business, making cards and selling them to people in their community.

The students raised $60 this year and wanted to use the money to share their love of literacy with the students Lead to Read KC serves:

When I knew we wanted to donate, I looked at many organizations around KC, but yours really spoke to me. First grade is all about reading, and we are lucky to have lots of books and support in our district,” said Amy Oades, First Grade Teacher at Lakewood Elementary.

Kindness cards created by Mrs. Oades’ first grade students.

Our hearts are full! On behalf of all the students Lead to Read KC serves, we would like to recognize Mrs. Oades and her students for giving back to the community. We’re thrilled they chose Lead to Read KC as the recipient of their donation, and we’re excited to be able to share the Kindness Cards with our students. Many thanks!

Lead to Read KC Reading Mentor John Eyler and his student receiving a Kindness Card at Citizens of the World Kansas City.
Kindness Cards logo.


Categories: Uncategorized

Spring Into Happy event

More than 200 Lead to Read KC supporters celebrated a great year of reading at Freedom Interiors’ fabulous showroom during our Spring Into Happy event. Thank you to all who attended!

Special thanks to our event sponsors: Amigoni Urban Winery, CBIZ, ConvergeOne, Freedom Interiors, The Hughes Family Foundation, Lockton, Price Chopper, US Cloud, and Vertafore. Also, thank you to Jazz for Good for providing the music.

Categories: Uncategorized

Lead to Read KC organizes author visits to partner schools

Lead to Read KC is pleased to be partnering with local children’s therapist and author Vladimir Sainte to share his new book Just Like a Hero with our partner schools. This initiative is made possible with support from Reading Mentor Jacob Schwartz and a generous donation from emfluence Digital Marketing and its employees.

As you’ll see from these photos from author visits to two of Lead to Read KC’s partner schools — Crossroads Academy Central Street and M.L. King Elementary — the initiative is a big hit with students and Reading Mentors alike!

Author Vladimir Sainte and second grade teacher Nancy Ramirez, along with students at M.L. King Elementary. Check out the superhero capes! 
Vladimir Sainte and Lead to Read KC Site Coordinator Becky Conaghan take a look at the superhero writing projects created by students at M.L. King Elementary.
Author Vladimir Sainte shares Just Like a Hero with students and Lead to Read KC Reading Mentors at M.L. King Elementary. The book teaches personal values, challenges negative thoughts, and provides activities to promote self-esteem and coping skills.
Author Vladimir Sainte shares Just Like a Hero with students, teachers and Reading Mentors at Crossroads Academy Central Street.

Author Vladimir Sainte demonstrates a stress management technique to students, teachers and Reading Mentors at Crossroads Academy Central Street.
Partnering to help students manage their emotional health: Karis Parker, Assistant Principal – Crossroads Academy Central Street; Laura LaCroix, Principal – Crossroads Academy Central Street; Jacob Schwartz, Lead to Read KC Reading Mentor; Vladimir Sainte, Author; Clara Sainte, Lead to Read KC Reading Mentor; and Pauly Hart, Lead to Read KC Executive Director.
Thanks to a donation from an anonymous donor, each of the 1,100 students Lead to Read KC serves received a copy of Just Like a Hero. Also, each of the teachers in the 52 classrooms we serve received a copy of Just Like a Hero, along with tips from the author on sharing it with students.
“I am honored to be part of Lead to Read KC’s initiative and hope to be a reminder to kids to see themselves as heroes. Reading feeds imagination, creating a voyage of discovery on every page,” said Vladimir Sainte, L.C.S.W.


Categories: Uncategorized

Volunteer Code of Conduct

Volunteer Code of Conduct

Lead to Read cordially welcomes you as a volunteer in support of student achievement. In order to ensure you have a positive and mutually beneficial experience, we ask that you please adhere to the following standards.

Personal Responsibilities:

  • Sign in and out in the volunteer book.
  • Wear name badge while in the school.
  • Keep all student information confidential, unless abuse or neglect is suspected; in that case,

report concerns to the principal or designee.

  • All media interaction must be approved in advance by the administration.

Guidelines:

  • All volunteer activities are school based. Activities are to occur on school grounds during the regular school hours or extended day. Any exceptions must follow school guidelines and have administrator approval.
  • Volunteer assignments are approved by the principal or designee.
  • Volunteers may not transport students.
  • Interact with students in public areas with others present.
  • Volunteers may not photograph or videotape students unless approved in advance by an administrator.
  • Avoid giving gifts or lending money to students.
  • Treat teachers, students, and parents with respect.
  • Do not make negative comments to others about the students, parents, or staff.
  • Exhibit behavior supportive of all ethnic/racial groups.
  • Consult with principal or designee if problems occur.
  • All communication between any student and any volunteer via telephone, text messaging, social networking, and other external devices or technologies is prohibited. The prohibition includes but is not limited to Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Any exceptions must be approved in advance by a principal or administrator and follow school district guidelines.

Safety:

  • No sexual or romantic advance, contact, or relationship is allowed, even if it is apparently “consensual” or initiated by a student.
  • Volunteers may not use profanity or exhibit displays of violence or threats of violence. Weapons are not allowed on school grounds.
  • Volunteers may not engage in any illegal activities with students, including but not limited to providing alcohol, tobacco, or drugs to students.
  • Volunteers may not attempt to influence or persuade students on religious or political matters.
  • Volunteers may not dress, change, or provide medication to students.
Categories: Uncategorized

Major Darren Ivey of KCPD – Working with students who have experienced trauma

This Reader training resource is great for all Readers, all adults who work with children who have experienced trauma. Thanks for such fantastic community partners who help us provide and produce materials like this for our volunteers!