When Oasis of Hope began 13 years ago, one of the very first needs identified was the need to partner with local elementary schools to help provide assistance tutoring. Although our program has evolved over the years, it began as a reading enhancement lesson combined with Biblical stories and has remained a strong and growing reading program today. We run Read2Succeed (R2S) out of one of our small ministry houses (see In the Cut) and initially offered this service one night a week, then two, and now we have expanded to three! Over the years we have been approached by more parents from the community desiring to enroll their child in this thriving program, but due to space and volunteer limitations, we are presently at capacity!
What happens during a typical night goes something like this: The students start off the night with prayer, a snack and a fun activity, then meet with their assigned “coaches” to read together and check out additional books from the Oasis Library. Bible stories are shared, Bible verses are memorized, and kids and mentors build strong bonds as they work together from August through May. The real key here is relationship building and having a caring adult involved in their lives and providing additional support, encouragement and spiritual guidance.
Students’ progress is carefully tracked throughout this 30 week period. Sight word recognition and reading comprehension are measured.
This year 95% of our students reached the goal of acquiring 200 or more sight words! 95% are also reading sight words above grade level!
In addition, kids are rewarded for participating in service projects, memorizing Bible verses, and demonstrating faithful attendance. Occasionally motivational and educational incentives are planned to reward hard-working students and give them the chance to attend field trips to places such as nature centers, the Imax Theater, Hope Church events, pool parties, etc.
So when the end of the year approaches, it’s a BIG deal to these kids and volunteers who have been meeting together every week throughout the school year! It’s time to party! This year the kids thanked their faithful coaches by serving them dinner and making special frames they painted that included the following words and Bible verse: Thank you for your servant’s heart. ‘As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another.’ I Peter 4:10
Since R2S meets on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, a grand gathering of all participants, their coaches, and families recently combined to celebrate the year’s successes! Two very special surprises happened:
Shelby County’s Outstanding Teen Gabby Generaux built and donated a ‘Free Little Library’ to be placed outside The Green House for kids to take a book/return a book to fuel their desire to read year-round! Additionally, Gabby collected 2,000 books to keep the library well stocked and the kids reading for a long time! The library is dedicated to Norm & Kay Rodriguez who are the founders of this program, which is still going strong 13 years later! Look at the legacy Norm and Kay started!
The Oasis Bike Shop donated two, brand new bikes to be raffled off to R2S students based on points earned for attendance, memorized Bible verses, and service projects. The winner of the boy’s bike, Johntarrious Covington, selflessly declined his prize declaring that he already owned a bike, and insisted on giving it to another boy!! WHAT?! That’s an amazing display of kindness and selflessness! Because of this act of generosity, Davion Lee actually took home the boy’s bike prize which was especially touching because he lost his dad in a car accident one year ago to the day of the R2S dinner! Nierria Humphrey, a 4th grader who did not own a bike, won the girl’s bike. Thank you to The Bike Shop for this exciting memory in these great kids’ lives!
As a ministry, we are grateful when God implants a passion and a vision in someone who is faithful to the call and willing to put in the work to carry it out! Read2Succeed began as a tiny seed and has grown into a strong tree with deep roots. We are also grateful for the opportunity to watch kids grow, become parents themselves, and then enroll their own children in our programs! Although we break for the summer, we will be enlisting another round of students and volunteers soon. If you are interested in finding out more about this ministry, we’d love to tell you about it.
Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays from 4:30-6:00pm
In the Cut ministry house, 932 N. 6th Street, North Memphis
Staff contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like more information regarding this specific ministry, contact Kathleen. Stay up-to-date by liking us on Facebook, following us on Twitter and Instagram, and checking our website for detailed information.