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‘Blazer Buddies’ work to spread literacy

Written by: Jessica Ingram

With the help of VSU student volunteers, the Sullivan Literacy Center is helping local children learn how to read.

Dr. Gina Doepker, Sullivan Literacy Center director, said the goal of the center is to increase the confidence, motivation, and skills of children in regards to reading and writing.

“Our mission is to be an integrated system of care for these children and their families throughout Valdosta and the surrounding areas,” Dr. Gina Doepker, Sullivan Literacy Center director, said.

Doepker encouraged VSU students to participate in the Literacy Center’s volunteer programs. The program offerings vary from semester to semester, as does the number of volunteers needed. Currently, there are around 50 VSU student volunteers, according to Doepker.

“This is a great opportunity for all VSU students to receive service hours for volunteering to help out with the different programs in the Sullivan Literacy Center,” Doepker said.

This semester, the Literacy Center is offering two volunteer programs: the Dear Blazer Buddy pen pal program and the Multidisciplinary Child Advocacy Team (M-CAT) program.

In the Dear Blazer Buddy pen pal program, VSU students write letters to children that are participating in the Literacy Center’s skill-building programs.

This semester, most of the student volunteers have chosen to participate in this program because of its flexibility; they can write letters during their free time and drop them off at the Literacy Center when their schedule permits.

For a more involved experience, the M-CAT program offers VSU students the opportunity to provide one-on-one tutoring to a child in the program.

“I love my VSU student volunteers,” Doepker said. “I could not run successful programs without them.”

For more information about the Sullivan Literacy Center and their volunteer opportunities, call 229-333-5645 or email slc@valdosta.edu.




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