Rodeph Shalom’s highly successful MENTOR (Mitzvah, Encourage, Nurture, Tutor, Outreach and Reassure) Program is entering its fifth year. A cadre of loyal volunteers go into city schools weekly and meet with the same children throughout the school year. We usually work in the school library in the mornings, spending 45 minutes each with two children, back to back. Some of our volunteers have worked with the same student for several years now.

Our MENTORS come from a variety of backgrounds and professions. They all share a desire to make a difference in a child’s life. Our efforts have made a substantial and positive impact on the children we work with. Higher test scores and positive feedback from teachers and parents attest to this. Kearney Elementary eliminated all outside volunteer groups, with the exception of our MENTOR Program. Ours is the only program they feel was effective in raising reading levels.

We have all had enlightening moments with our students, highlighting our awareness of just how significant our presence in the schools has become. One of my students confided in me about her worries about her mother’s health. I was able to speak with the school counselor who intervened in a positive way. Another volunteer bought her fourth grader a book on animals, since she knew it was an interest of his. It was the first book he had ever owned. One of our volunteers planned to “retire” from the program this past year, until he received a phone call from his student . The student wanted to make sure his MENTOR was returning to the program. Naturally, he went back!

We are currently involved with Kearney Elementary, Childs Elementary and Nebinger. This year Spring Garden ,12th & Melon , is joining our program. The school is right in RS’s backyard, and the principal is highly motivated to improve and enhance the children’s learning experience. I am looking for volunteers, particularly for Spring Garden. If you are interested in learning more about the program please contact me; Sharon Spinrad, 215/735-0797 or [email protected]