NEW YORK CITY — A New York City reading program is giving dozens of teens jobs over the summer, teaching over 100 children how to read during the pandemic.
Organizers and parents say it’s a win-win approach to learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Six-year-old Grady Zabre, of Harlem, loves to read with his mom. But his mom, Summer Sheridan-Zabre, says she was concerned that Grady would fall behind during the pandemic.
Sheridan-Zambre enrolled her son in a free program run by Read Alliance, a nonprofit organization that matches kindergarten, first, and second graders in city public schools with teenagers who tutor them one-on-one.
Sessions used to be face-to-face, but now they’re all on Zoom.
Jada Turpin, 16, of the Bronx, is one of the teens teaching reading this summer.
Turpin says she is grateful to have a paid job over the summer that allows her to stay at home and make a difference.
“It makes me feel like I’m giving back and it matters,” said Turpin.
Phradiep Baldeo, 19, from East New York, says he knows what it's like to struggle with reading and he loves getting paid and giving back.
“I remember when I was a kid, I was in their shoes. I used to struggle a lot. I had reading issues; now I’m giving back to my community,” said Baldeo.
Danielle Guindo, executive director of Read Alliance, says they have hired 82 teenagers as reading tutors making minimum wage or more.
“We truly harness the power of teens. There’s never been a better time to improve early literacy and provide meaningful employment for teens,” said Guindo.
Teachers work with the teens and mentor them to become virtual big brothers and sisters to the children they are helping.
More than 100 children from all five boroughs are enrolled in the reading program.