Want to make a BIG difference in the life of a kid in out community?

By Susan Shinn Turner

In our local schools, Chuck Moll says, “You can never have too many volunteers.”

He and his wife, Judy, are longtime volunteers for the Gator Reading Program at Isenberg.

Here’s a round-up of the volunteer opportunities available in the schools with which St. John’s partners.

Barnabas Connection with Knox Middle School

Begun by the late Shirley Ritchie, the Barnabas Connection serving students from Knox begins Oct. 4. The program meets each Thursday at St. John’s from 2:30 to 5 pm. It includes a meal, small group discussion, creative art activities, and homework time. Adult volunteers are needed to share time with students and simply serve as a friend and someone to listen.

Nancy Gaines, the program’s director, says that enrollment is usually 16, with an attendance of 8 to 12. “We have six who volunteered last year, but some of those can’t be here for every session this year so would be nice to have at least three or four more on the list,” she says. “No special skills are needed — just an open heart, listening ears, and a willingness to try new things is important. I am always looking for people who have a talent to share. If someone would like to lead an art project, I would love to hear from them as well.”

Contact: Nancy Gaines at ngaines@fibrant.com or 704.213.0019.

64 members of St. John’s, of all ages, teamed up to serve at Isenberg Elementary for the ELCA’s “God’s work. Our hands.” day.

Gator Reading Program with Isenberg Elementary School

Students in the Gator Reading program continue to make progress in their reading scores. Most of the program volunteers come from St. John’s, and Karen Puckett, a St. John’s member who is the school’s media coordinator, says that about 16 tutors are needed this year for second- and third-graders. The students were tested in September, and the program starts the second week in October.

  • Days and times for second-graders: 10:20-11:05 am Tuesday-Wednesday, 10-10:40 am Thursday-Friday.
  • Days and times for third-graders: 10-10:45 Tuesday-Friday.

Most volunteers share a student and therefore volunteer once a week at the school, Karen says.

Contact: Bonnie Harrell, Communities in Schools coordinator at Isenberg, 704.639.3009, opt. 4, or Bonnie.Harrell@rss.k12.nc.us. (Volunteers must complete an application, background check and one hour of training.)

St. John’s Child Development Center

Serving 180-plus children, the CDC has many volunteer opportunities, says Jennifer Mauro, program manager. Opportunities range from reading books or presenting Bible stories to children, cleaning and organizing, and helping in the classrooms. The center also welcomes donations of new and gently used books and toys and changes of clothes. You may also make donations toward classroom events or to help families in need.  “The options here are limitless,” Jennifer says.

Contact: Courtney Bost, 704.636.6756 or stjohnscdccourtney@bellsouth.net. (Please note that some volunteer opportunities may require a background check.)

St. John’s Kindergarten

Director Teresa Stoner notes that the kindergarten offers the following volunteer opportunities: trace and cut out artwork; file children’s work; read to the children; listen to children read; one-on-one review of letters and sounds with children.

Contact: Teresa Stoner, 704.636.4404 or kindergarten@stjohns-salisbury.org. (Please note that some volunteer opportunities may require a background check.)