The Arizona Daily Star is joining Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild to recruit 500 more volunteer coaches for elementary school students.
Our campaign was spurred by this month's Star series on childhood poverty. The U.S. Census Bureau says one in three kids age 18 and younger in our city limits lives in poverty. The problem is complex and requires multiple long-term solutions - education key among them.
Reading Seed, a local nonprofit organization, pairs children who are behind in reading skills with volunteer tutors. The students are in kindergarten through third grade.
Coaching takes place for one hour each week during school hours. Volunteers must pass a background check.
The need for coaches is great. In the last school year, Reading Seed had about 500 coaches. It estimates that 13,000 local kids would benefit from coaching.
If you are unable to volunteer, consider making a donation to Reading Seed. The program needs money to train and mentor coaches and to measure the results of their work.
One way to donate is to take advantage of state tax credits for money that goes either to a public school or to a program that benefits the working poor.
For details, go to literacyconnects.org/readingseed
If you missed the Star series on childhood poverty, it's available azstarnet.com/poverty
Join our online chat about the series, "Losing Ground: Tucson kids pay poverty's high price," at noon Tuesday at live.azstarnet.com
Joining reporters Carli Brosseau and Emily Bregel will be Peggy Hutchison, CEO of the Primavera Foundation; Lane Kenworthy, professor of sociology at the University of Arizona; Clarence Carter, director of the Arizona Department of Economic Security; and Kathleen Perkins, who works with the STEM program at John B. Wright Elementary School.