The Houston Independent School District is looking for a few good men to read to its schoolchildren once a month. Houston Real Men Read, a mentoring initiative for elementary- and middle-school students chaired by Texas Senator Rodney Ellis and spearheaded by HISD Board of Education First Vice President Paula Harris, is recruiting volunteers.
The community is invited to join HISD in the Real Men Read kick-off event at 5 p.m. Jan. 26, at the Houston Public Library’s central location, 500 McKinney.
Volunteers are asked to commit to reading and discussing a book with a classroom of second-, fifth-, or seventh-grade students for one hour per month in February, March, and April of this year.
Interested gentlemen can complete a volunteer application available through HISD’s Web site and follow the instructions for submission.
The district is partnering with Scholastic Books and other corporate sponsors to underwrite the program, which will ensure that each student receives a copy of the monthly book to start a home library.
Rick Evans, a clinical research coordinator for Baylor College of Medicine, signed up as a volunteer and is looking forward to being part of the program.
“As a former teacher, I understand the importance of instilling a passion for learning in our children. Showing them that reading can be fun is an integral part of that process. Reading is the gateway to so many new worlds for children. It has the power to entertain, inform, and inspire them. It can expand their vocabularies and knowledge bases, as well as their imaginations,” said Evans. “In a world such as ours – where they are seeing that they truly can grow up to be anything they imagine – it is vital that we equip them with the tools to accomplish whatever goals they may dream.”
Thirty-one HISD schools are already planning to host Real Men Read MENtors. The program will offer students a chance to see men from all walks of life in a positive way in the district’s schools.
“This program is so exciting and very timely,” said Harris. “As our President calls on all people to volunteer and serve their community, this is a wonderful way to positively influence students and the educational system. Dedicating this time to our children will ensure that they understand the importance of learning and how important they are to the community. I look forward to seeing this program grow to include every school in our district.”