As local government leaders, lunchtime often means eating at our desks while poring through email. Maybe we grab a fast bite in between meetings, or skip the meal altogether. We’re all “too busy” to take time for ourselves, let alone others. But what if – just once a week – we actually took a full 60 minutes for lunch? And what if, during that hour, we dedicated our time to improving two young lives? We might just serve as a model for our entire community. We might just shatter the notion that at-risk children who start school behind in reading must stay behind. We might just change the world – and the future – for those two children. Virginia Beach READS, now operating in three elementary schools for the second consecutive year, is doing just that. Our presentation title, inspired by volunteer Tammi DeVille’s 2011 book, Changing the World on a Tuesday Night, emphasizes how individuals can incorporate impactful volunteer service into our busy lives.
In times of tight budgets and increasing needs, Virginia Beach, like many local governments in the United States, must fully embrace community volunteerism as a means of accomplishing more with less. A major initiative of our local Campaign for Grade-Level Reading,Virginia Beach READS pulls together multiple partners – local government, public schools, various non-profits,the business community, the military community, funders, volunteer groups, and the families of struggling readers – to collectively tackle the critical issue of improving reading proficiency by third grade.