[Noozhawk’s note: One in a series on Santa Barbara Partners in Education volunteers. This article is sponsored by Antioch University Santa Barbara, a Partners in Education President’s Council member.]

Christina Rogers

Christina Rogers

As a volunteer with Santa Barbara Partners in Education, Christina Rogers knows firsthand that a little extra attention can change children’s lives. For the past two years, she has been volunteering in Barbara Conway’s first-grade class at Franklin Elementary School on Santa Barbara’s Lower Eastside, helping students practice their reading.

Partners in Education is a local nonprofit organization, administered by the Santa Barbara County Education Office, that is on a mission to connect teachers’ classroom needs with volunteers who have the skills to meet them.

With a background in early childhood development, Rogers was a perfect fit for Conway’s request for a classroom reading tutor. And as a mother of a young boy about to start kindergarten, she is acutely aware of the impact a reading coach can have on a young learner.

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“It’s just too hard for one sole teacher to offer individualized attention to each child in a classroom, as often as it is needed,” Rogers said.

Armed with that understanding, Rogers has enthusiastically committed to her adopted first-grade class. She spends one hour each week reading with a child who needs some extra help.

“I remember last year working with a boy who would get frustrated after reading for only a short time, because he thought it was too hard,” she said.

“It took some time, but after a few months of working with him, he started wanting to read more and more, going further in a book each time.”

Now that she is in her second year with the same classroom and a new group of students, that experience has stuck with Rogers, and it motivates her to continue.

The students have really connected with Rogers, and Conway describes her and her fun approach to tutoring as “fantastic.” She said she was thrilled to have her back again this year working eagerly with her students.

Rogers wholeheartedly believes that “volunteers playing a role in schools are essential, especially as government budget cuts have kept public schools from hiring teacher aides.”’

She thinks of it as her duty to give back. She’s just doing her part, she says. It also helps that she has a lot of fun doing it.

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Santa Barbara Partners in Education is a nonprofit 501(c)3 administered by the Santa Barbara County Education Office. Partners programs include a Volunteer Recruitment program serving K-12 public schools and nonprofit organizations; a Paid Job Readiness Training & Internship program for deserving high school students; and Computers for Families, a program working to close the digital divide.

» Click here to volunteer with Partners in Education, or call 805.964.4710 x4401.

» Connect with Partners in Education on Facebook. Follow Partners in Education on Twitter: @sbpartnersined.

» For other inquiries, contact internship program and communications coordinator Chelsea Duffy at cpduffy@sbceo.org.

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— Gerardo Banuelos works with Santa Barbara Partners in Education.