It’s a family affair

Traci MurphyJuly 20, 2022

Reading Mentors Shannon and Mark Cummings.
If there’s something to be done for Lead to Read KC, Shannon Cummings has probably done it. Founding member of Friends of Lead to Read KC? Check. Representing Lead to Read KC and being recognized as Hometown Hero for the Kansas City Monarchs Literacy Weekend in 2021? Check. Serving as a Reading Mentor? Check – since 2017. Recruiting new Reading Mentors? Check – including her dad, Mark!

“I’ve been sharing my love of Lead to Read with my family for a while, and after my dad retired, he was looking for opportunities to volunteer and give back to the KC community,” Shannon said. “He was familiar with Lead to Read from my involvement, and as a reader himself – and someone who recognizes the importance of literacy – he thought it’d be a great way to volunteer and give back.”

Recognizing the importance of literacy is something Shannon and her dad (pictured together here) share.

“I love that Lead to Read’s mission is to improve basic literacy skills of KC students,” she said. “Literacy is SO foundational to student success, and Lead to Read is making meaningful and measurable differences for the students they support.”

When Shannon shared her stories about Lead to Read, that support stuck out to her dad.

“Shannon was certainly enthusiastic about her involvement with Lead to Read and shared many of the positive experiences that came from her time spent with students as a Reading Mentor,” he said. “Specifically, supporting the foundation for a lifelong interest in reading and the personal connections that developed over the school year.”

Shannon has served as a Reading Mentor in four of our partner schools and was one of the first volunteers to step up when we piloted our Digital Reading and Mentoring Program in 2020. 

“I love being able to form a bond with my reading buddy throughout the course of the school year,” she said. “It’s so fun to watch their confidence with reading improve and see the progress that they make each week.”

As a digital Reading Mentor, that’s something Mark has enjoyed as well. 

“Seeing the enthusiasm that the students bring to each session and their excitement in opening the books that creatively explore their interests and the greater world around them is my favorite part of being a Reading Mentor,” he said. 

Mark has enjoyed it so much that he’s recruited friends to volunteer, too.

“They appreciated the program’s format, which made it easy to connect with students on a consistent basis and then quickly experienced the fun and meaningful impact of time very well spent,” he said. 

Want to make an impact while having fun? Join us as a Reading Mentor for the upcoming school year! Visit our website to learn how. The need for reading and mentoring support is greater than ever before. 

Shannon and her student bond over books during a reading session.