100 local citizens are investing in HOSTS program at school

What better way to invest in your future than to “Help One Student To Succeed'” Approximately 100 volunteers from the local community participate in Brady Elementary School’s “Help One Student To Succeed” program (HOSTS), yet even more are needed. “We still have specific time frames that are open,” said program director Mary Ann McCarver. “We are still identifying children and our program is quickly filling up in some areas but in other areas we definitely need more mentors. “Anyone who would be willing to volunteer their time can call the school and talk with me about the times that are available. We do have morning and afternoon sessions, and we’re always working around our teacher’s schedules. “We have 30-minute classes that start early at 8:15 a.m. and are held every Monday through Thursday. “I know people are busy,” Mrs. McCarver said. “Until I became a coordinator for this program, I didn’t fully realize how marvelous it is to have volunteers. It’s great to have mentors willing to help our students succeed.” According to Mrs. McCarver, HOSTS mentors spend half of their time with reading and working to develop vocabulary skills. “We also work with an individual skill area for each child,” she said. “We go through a lot of preliminary testing and if a child’s testing shows that he/she needs more work in a particular area, that’s what we focus on. We work to support all of our basic reading goals, and we work closely with our classroom teachers.” Brady Elementary School’s HOSTS program was recently awarded a “superior” rating in program implementation by the HOSTS learning corporation. HOSTS, an acronym for Helping One Student To Succeed, is a volunteer-based mentoring program which helps students to make accelerated gains in language arts. The Brady program serves students in grades one through three, and volunteer mentors worked with 48 children during the 2002-2003 school year. “Recognition given to the Brady program reflects student growth in both academic and non-academic areas,” said campus principal Kelley Hirt. Both Mrs. McCarver and fellow HOSTS staff member, Toni Muniz, have been ably assisted by more than 100 volunteer mentors from the Brady area. Mentors include Brady High School PALS and employees from Brady National Bank, Brady Standard-Herald, Brady/McCulloch County Chamber of Commerce, the county clerk’s office, Young’s Jewelry, Oglebay Norton and Berkly Enterprises, N Business Journal, as well as retirees and other people who chose to give their time. Most HOSTS volunteers mentor for one to two sessions per week; however, mentor Ellen Evans mentors each day. Anyone interested in learning more about the HOSTS program, should contact the HOSTS lab at Brady Elementary School at 597-2590.

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