NORTHWEST IOWA RSVP SPOTLIGHTS K-12 SUCCESS

RSVP Volunteers Algona

During National Volunteer Month, Northwest Iowa RSVP is drawing attention to different focus areas emphasized in the program for grant funding. K-12 Success, which includes the Pen Pals, Reading Buddies, and Literacy Partners programs, is a key focus area in Clay, Dickinson, Emmet, Kossuth, and Palo Alto counties.

At the heart of the K-12 Success initiative lies the cherished Pen Pal program, which bridges the gap between students and community members with writing. Across 12 pen pal programs in private and public schools, approximately 500 third and fourth graders eagerly exchange letters with their RSVP Pen Pals, writing 2 to 3 letters a piece. An RSVP Pen Pal volunteer writes back to each letter, answering questions and sharing interests and life experiences. The pen pal exchanges end with joyous meet-and-greet parties, where students and volunteers eagerly meet their pen pals in person, and friendships grow beyond the written word.

One NW Iowa RSVP volunteer shared, “I anxiously await the arrival of each pen pal letter. It’s fun to learn my pen pal’s interests so that I can compose my next letter based on the information I received. I also enjoy the opportunity to reflect on my childhood so that I can share experiences. The get-together at the end of our letter exchange is quite a celebration and so much fun!”

Additionally, NW Iowa RSVP helps with the Reading Buddies program, providing support to students who are navigating reading. Whether offering a listening ear to struggling readers or igniting a passion for storytelling in emerging readers, volunteers play a pivotal role in shaping young minds. Beyond literacy initiatives, some Northwest Iowa RSVP volunteers extend the K-12 reach by assisting with Art Buddies, Lunch Buddies, tutoring, and classroom assistance.

A few counties participate in Literacy Partners, which provides free books to local students. RSVP has partnered with other organizations to ensure that over 1500 students can access books, fostering a love for reading and learning.

Northwest Iowa RSVP volunteers come from many different backgrounds and have various interests. Through initiatives designed to intermingle generations, Northwest Iowa RSVP hopes to enrich the youth and seniors with every new experience encountered.

Individuals interested in joining NW Iowa RSVP are encouraged to email RSVP@iowalakes.edu or click here to complete a registration form at www.iowalakes.edu/RSVP.

RSVP Volunteers Garrigan

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