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Erie County, partners to hold orientation for seniors interested in volunteering in local classrooms


Mon, Sep 14th 2015 11:35 am

Department of Senior Services seeking people age 55 and over to provide one-on-one tutoring

The Erie County Department of Senior Services and community partners including the Buffalo Public Schools are currently seeking individuals interested in volunteering at local schools to provide one-on-one tutoring to children in the classroom. The Retired Senior Volunteer Program ("RSVP") of Erie County is holding an orientation for new classroom volunteers age 55 and over to assist classroom teachers in working directly with struggling students in an effort to help students obtain higher test scores, improve their grades and improve their self-confidence. Volunteers would be asked to serve at one of eight Buffalo Public Schools.

As part of the recruitment and training process for interested volunteers, an orientation will be held from 10-11:30 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 17, at Catholic Charities, 128 Wilson St., Buffalo. The informational session will include presentations from a variety of speakers, including a representative of Say Yes Buffalo and two experienced volunteers who will speak first-hand about the many benefits and personal satisfaction they get from helping to educate today's youth. There also will be a detailed explanation of the Common Core state standards and how volunteers can assist students in comprehending what they are required to know in math and English language arts from kindergarten through 12th grade.

"The RSVP program taps into the rich lifetime of experience our seniors have and allows them an opportunity to share that experience with our youth," Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz said. "I encourage anyone interested in taking part to find out more and consider making a positive impact in a student's life."

Margaret Hilligas, a retired classroom teacher, is an RSVP volunteer in Kelly Yavornitzki's kindergarten class at the Charles Drew School in Buffalo.

"It's a commitment that I take very seriously and Kelly is so appreciative," Hilligas said. "I get a text with a big 'Thank you' at dinner time every day after I volunteer from Kelly. There's always a 'Hello' and a 'Good-bye' from the children at the end of the day. Kelly always has something for me to do so I'm not standing around. It has worked out beautifully and I love it."

For more information about being a classroom volunteer, including how to register for the Sept. 17 orientation, call 716-858-7548. The deadline for registering for the orientation is 5 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 16.

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