First Lady Kicks Off Volunteer Week

First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe honored National Volunteer Week, April 23-29, by visiting Westover Hills Elementary in Richmond. The First Lady observed AmeriCorps members Anne Forrester and Juhi Hobson who are currently serving with The Literacy Lab program at the school. Literacy Lab members provide innovative reading interventions in grades K-3. The program has seen astounding success rates providing literacy tutors who work with students each day and develop a targeted approach for individual students. First Lady McAuliffe shared her enthusiasm for the program saying, “We are so grateful to programs like this one making such a huge difference in our schools.”

Tom Dillon, Co-Executive Director of The Literacy Lab, shared the program’s successes in the Commonwealth citing dramatic improvements in reading skills in schools in Northern Virginia, Richmond, Henrico, and Petersburg. The AmeriCorps members and their on-site coaches provide intensive interventions that are focused on each individual child. Data is evaluated regularly to guide the tutors and direct instruction. “The Literacy Lab has been great for our students,” agreed Westover Hills Reading Specialist Evelyn Fells. “The one-on-one learning every day creates students that are more self confident. This program is a necessary asset to our school.”

The First Lady was able to observe the AmeriCorps members in action working with students during her visit. AmeriCorps member Juhi Hobson reflected on her service saying, “I love the one-on-one interaction. I see my children thrive on that.” Juhi’s year of service has made a tremendous on her as well saying that she has decided to continue her career working in education.

AmeriCorps member Anne Forrester was an adult Spanish tutor prior to her national service experience. After a year of service, she has decided to continue her service at Westover Hills Elementary for a second year. “I’ve love this school.” she says, “I appreciate the staff and teachers who are so supportive.”

Westover Hills Principal Virginia Loving shared her thoughts on the members’ service to the students saying, “The kids actually talk about reading and books now!”

See photos from the First Lady’s visit:


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