When two and a half years ago Linda Riedeburg opened up Literacy Connections of the Hudson Valley’s monthly newsletter and read the advertisement “Seeking Book Buddies” she immediately picked up the phone. Linda is a former educator and recently retired. She was looking for the right volunteer opportunity to give back. This program is exactly the volunteer opportunity that she had been looking for.
Book Buddies is a program that matches volunteer tutors with local students to improve their literacy. Since Linda became a Book Buddy two and a half years ago, she has tutored 7 students, 6 at Clinton Elementary School and 1 at Krieger Elementary every week for 45 minutes. Linda explains that “it is so little of my time but so important for the children.”
Linda has since seen her students come a long way as they gain confidence in their ability to read, sounding out words and learning to choose their own books. She feels overjoyed that she is making a difference in their lives. Linda serves as a role model for her students. “After summer break I was reunited with one of my students and he gave me a huge hug! It truly is a privilege to work with him every week.”
Linda is especially devoted and does her best to ensure that her students have tutoring every week, even if she can’t be there! When she goes on vacation she works with the Book Buddies Coordinator to arrange a substitute reader in her absence.
She even meets with her students when school is out of session. During spring break Linda met a student at the local public library four days out of the five day break to continue their work. The student’s mother was grateful that Linda would go to such lengths to help her son.
Helping the community has always been a part of Linda’s life. In the past she has been involved in all aspects of her church and has been an active Junior League member. She has helped local seniors with transportation as part of Friends of Seniors program and delivers meals with Meals on Wheels. However, she has found her passion in being a Book Buddy. “My goal in retirement was to work one on one with children at local schools and I am so grateful that Literacy Connections has made this dream possible.”
Her favorite part of being a Book Buddy has been forming positive relationships with her students. They look forward to their sessions, they get a chance to learn, see their Book Buddy Linda and have fun! “Helping students read really makes a difference; it opens up a whole world for them.”
To find your perfect volunteer match, visit volunteer.uwdor.org.
- Melissa Clark, Manager of Community Mobilization