During my Mission Year, I volunteered with Coan Middle School in Atlanta. I figured working with pre-teens, we’d be studying American history… learning some pre-Algebra… buying mock stocks… and writing essays that would later become the feature film Titanic. (I promise I turned in the framework for that movie… without all that icky romance… during a state-wide essay test in the 7th grade.)
Imagine my surprise when I was matched with two 6th graders who could not read… at all. Eventually, the teachers chose to move the three of us into our own storage closet/classroom because their inability to read was limiting them in every subject area.
They could not follow along in Science textbooks. They were hopelessly lost in English class. And they even struggled to read directions and explanations in Math.
So we spent that year sounding out words, memorizing site words, and reading plays aloud because they liked to take turns. It’s painfully difficult to find material written at a 5-year old reading level that is engaging to a 12-year old .
I adored these two students, and we had a good time together. And by the end of the year, I distinctly remember that one of them read “party”… a word that he had been unable to even sound out at the beginning. I was so happy I wanted to throw one!
At Mission Year, we envision a world where all children receive a quality education.
Many of us are aware that the US educational system is not keeping pace with expectations, job market needs, or the rest of the world. Literacy is a major component of strong education.
Some statistics note that 68% of US public school 4th graders are not reading at grade level (Ref). This number holds for 8th graders (Ref), suggesting that they are not catching up later. Among minority students, 89% of Latino and 86% of African American middle and high school students read below grade level (Ref).
This need for strong education is foundational to countless other social needs. Therefore, Mission Year team members spend hundreds of hours each year tutoring, teaching, and supporting students.
We connect with dedicated partners, such as SAY Yes!, The Stewart Center, Hunting Park Christian Academy, Center City Academy, Spruce Hill Christian School, Roseland Christian School, Agape Development Ministries, Forge for Families, Yellowstone Academy, and Generation One. These educational organizations are committed to seeing students succeed, and our team members come alongside them providing resources for the next generation of leaders.
When you give to Mission Year, you are make it possible for after-school programs to be staffed with consistent, committed volunteers each year. You provide classroom assistance to schools who desire and need this support. You join in the movement to educate urban children with excellence, creativity, and dedication. Be a part of the solution! Give to Mission Year.