Life lessons – community volunteers a vital resource for young students

Plateau resident Jeff Richards isn't a teacher. And nor is he trying to be. What he is trying to be is a friendly resource and a helping hand to one local student - someone who will listen to their problems or concerns, and offer whatever words of wisdom might help make the difficult lessons of school a little easier.

  • BY Wire Service
  • Monday, October 18, 2010 4:43pm
  • Life
For one hour a week

For one hour a week

“It’s not so much about me telling him to do his homework.”

Plateau resident Jeff Richards isn’t a teacher. And nor is he trying to be.

What he is trying to be is a friendly resource and a helping hand to one local student – someone who will listen to their problems or concerns, and offer whatever words of wisdom might help make the difficult lessons of school a little easier.

Jeff is a volunteer with the Issaquah School District’s (ISD) VOICE mentor program. VOICE, which stands for Volunteers of Issaquah Changing Education, is also supported by the Issaquah Schools Foundation (ISF), and sees local residents from all walks of life working one-on-one with buddies from elementary, middle and high schools.

For one hour a week, Jeff meets with Pine Like Middle School eighth-grade student Michael Elekes, to talk about anything that is on Michael’s mind, from how to master that math problem to life-skills advice.

“Michael has a passion for wrestling and in order to be on Skyline High School’s squad next year he will need to be successful not only on the wrestling mat but in the classroom as well,” Jeff said. “He’s a very intelligent kid. My goal with the VOICE program is to help him use that to the best of his ability.”

With small class sizes in jeopardy due to state funding cuts, one-on-one mentoring is a rare, but critical opportunity for young students.

VOICE volunteers are carefully matched with a student based on mentors’ desires and student needs, and partner with school staff to support students academically. Importantly, the program also aims to foster social skills and motivate students to be lifelong learners. Now in its seventh year, VOICE has expanded to serve students in more than 20 district schools.

But more volunteers are needed.

If you have one hour a week to spare, and want to make a positive difference to the life on one local student, contact VOICE program Director Susan Gierke at 425-837-6801 or e-mail voice@issaquah.wednet.edu.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@issaquahreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.issaquahreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in Life

The Gnome Trail is located across from Rock Creek Elementary School, 25700 Maple Valley Black Diamond Rd SE, Maple Valley. Photos by Bailey Jo Josie/Sound Publishing
Gnome Trail draws visitors to whimsical patch of forest in Maple Valley

There is a small issue of broken gnomes and even instances of intentional vandalism.

Zeyan Butt of Chase Bank in Kirkland. Courtesy of Chase.
How a Kirkland banker helped a Ukrainian family leave a warzone

The Sukhoy family found themselves stuck in Warsaw due to debit card issues.

Teaser
World’s longest surviving kidney patient dies

Mercer Island resident Nancy Spaeth went on dialysis at age 18 and received four kidney transplants.

2021 Toyota Corolla XSE
Car review: 2021 Toyota Corolla XSE

By Larry Lark, contributor Hatchbacks are all about versatility and fun. The… Continue reading

2021 Mazda CX-30 Crossover
Car review: 2021 Mazda CX-30 Crossover

By Larry Lark, contributor The Mazda CX-30 Crossover made its North American… Continue reading

2021 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport
Car review: 2021 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport

By Larry Lark, contributor The Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport full-size SUV has… Continue reading

2021 Lexus RC 350 F Sport
Car review: 2021 Lexus RC 350 F Sport

By Larry Lark, contributor The 2021 Lexus RC 350 F Sport is… Continue reading

2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer RS
Car review: 2021 Chevy Trailblazer RS

By Larry Lark, contributor Chevy’s 2021 Trailblazer is an entry-level, compact SUV… Continue reading

2022 Mini Cooper S 2-door. Courtesy photo
Car review: 2022 Mini Cooper S 2-door

By Larry Lark, contributor They don’t come around very often, but when… Continue reading

2022 Infiniti QX60 Autograph
Car review: 2022 Infiniti QX60 Autograph

By Larry Lark, contributor If you want your SUV to make a… Continue reading

2022 Telluride Nightfall Edition
Car review: 2022 Kia Telluride

By Larry Lark, contributor Big, bold and boxy, that’s the newly tweaked… Continue reading