Thank you for your interest in volunteering with Reach Out and Read!
Here are some FAQs about becoming a volunteer reader at a Reach Out and Read program:
How old must I be?
Anyone can be a volunteer, although Reach Out and Read volunteers are typically adults or older teenagers from the surrounding community with a desire to spend time reading to young children. Some health centers have age requirements that prevent younger teenagers or children from volunteering in the clinic. We encourage children interested in volunteering to consider organizing a book drive in their schools or communities.
How do I get started?
The first step is to find a Reach Out and Read pogram in the neighborhood or community where you would like to volunteer. Next, contact the program and ask to speak with the Reach Out and Read coordinator or the volunteer office. Let the person you speak with know that you are interested in volunteering with the Reach Out and Read program, reading aloud to children in the pediatric waiting room. Once you are connected with the right person, he or she will walk you through the rest of the steps to get started. If you need helping finding a program site to work with, contact our office and we will be happy to assist you.
Find a Program Site Near You
Is there a screening process?
Most hospitals and health centers require new volunteers to go through a screening. Requirements vary, depending on the health center, but they may include completing an application, a medical screening, a background check, and/or an interview.
How often will I be expected to volunteer?
You don't have to volunteer every week, but it is most helpful if you set up a schedule with the clinic including regular hours. Many volunteers do come once per week, but you can make arrangements with your Reach Out and Read Program to volunteer as frequently as your schedule permits.
What can I expect as a volunteer reader?
As a volunteer reader in the waiting room, your role is to provide a positive reading experience for the children, and to model reading aloud for parents. Some parents may have never seen good reading aloud techniques themselves. You may find yourself reading to one child or to a group of children, depending on how busy the clinic is at the time.
Not all Reach Out and Read waiting rooms have had readers before, so the experience may be new for everyone involved. Volunteering in a clinic waiting room is a special task. Remembering that some children you will see have never been read to at home can help to keep your experience in perspective, particularly when dealing with children who are reluctant, rowdy, or restless.
For more information on volunteering with Reach Out and Read, as well as additional tips and techniques, please take a look at our brochure, Volunteering for Reach Out and Read.
If you are interested in a volunteer opportunity with Reach Out and Read of Greater New York, contact us at email@example.com or call 646-237-0103.
A Volunteer Shares a Book
at Greenpoint Community Health Center