The Art of Giving Back: WVSA Arts Connection SAIL Reading Buddies Program

Since April, I have been serving as a Reading Buddy for the WVSA Arts Connection for a young person enrolled in their School for Arts in Learning (SAIL) Public Charter School. Once a week, I spend my lunch hour with my buddy, Christopher and assists him in his reading assignment. Though it is a brief interaction, it’s one that Christopher and I treasure. In addition to helping Chris on a weekly basis, I also helped out as a proctor during the school’s annual Comprehensive Assessment System (CAS) testing week. On Tuesday, June 22, 2010, SAIL recognized all 199 volunteers with a special presentation at the school (see photos below).

A little about the program….The School for ARTs in Learning (SAIL) is a K-8th grade public charter school located in Washington, DC’s bustling business district on 16th Street, NW.  The school provides multiple creative environments, opportunities and experiences for children through an arts-infused academic program. For the 2009-2010 school year, SAIL enrolled 164 students in K-8th grade and 60 percent received special education services.  Ninety-two percent of the students are African-American, five percent are Latino and two percent are Asian. About seventy-five percent of the students come from low-income families and they come from every ward in the District.
WVSA ARTs Connection (formerly Washington Very Special Arts) serves as the parent organization to SAIL.  It is a community-based arts and education nonprofit located in Washington, DC that serves youth and families from a variety of backgrounds. Their mission is to develop, implement and support arts-integrated education and employment programs for children and youth with special needs.

I am proud of the progress that Chris, a 6th grader and I did this year. I believe that giving back to others as a volunteer is so important to helping to solve some of the many ills of our society.   Read here and see how the Reading Buddies program from one organization made a difference in the SAIL Program.  A little bit of time can mean so much to a individual in need.

The SAIL Reading and Math Volunteers assemble for the Recognition reception…

The Principal Terry Bunton provides greetings…

Aaron LeCoin, Dean of Students, gives remarks….
A representative from the Parent’s Advisory Committee provides thanks on behalf of the parents….
Yours Truly with Principal Bunton showing off my certificate for helping with the CAS Testing…