April 8, 2019
United Way’s ReadUP program has endless benefits for both its volunteers and the students in which it serves. Volunteers get to spend time with third grade children, share their love for literacy with each other and as a result, amazing relationships develop that can truly make a difference in the life of a child during a critical period of their life.
However, one of ReadUP’s most active volunteers of over three years, Judy Spencer, didn’t discover the program through a tweet, a billboard, or even a flyer: Judy just loves to read – and along with her passion for helping others, she eventually found herself at a local school who connected her to the signature United Way program. Currently, she volunteers two days a week at two ReadUP schools.
We sat down with Judy to learn more about her service to Central Indiana and weren’t surprised to hear that being a ReadUP volunteer is only a chapter in her volunteerism story.
Why did you choose to volunteer with a United Way program like ReadUP?
I’ve always been an avid reader. I love to read, and I see that children can sometimes have difficulty with reading. One day, I stopped into a local elementary school in my area and wanted to see if they could use some volunteers. They told me about the ReadUP program and then I contacted United Way. I have been involved ever since!
There are other reading programs in the city, but ReadUP is a very worthwhile program. It’s a good 1:1 opportunity with students in third grade. You get to know them, and they get to know you.
What inspires you to serve?
A heart! A good heart. I have a desire to help children in need. Once they reach a certain point, if they can’t continue in that reading process, they can struggle later. It’s something I really enjoy doing.
What other volunteer groups or organizations are you involved in?
I do several things through my church. As a group, we prepare and serve food to children at a community center on the east side. I’m also involved in a women’s department club over 100 years old! I had someone from ReadUP present one of our programs a couple of years ago as a member of the program committee.
What advice would you give to someone who is interested in volunteering?
I would tell people who are interested in volunteering to seek out their passions and interests. There are so many resources on the internet. Ask around! These ways of finding your passion can be very beneficial.
Thank you, Judy, for being a champion for our children and a #GameChanger for Central Indiana!
Did Judy inspire you to think about becoming a ReadUP tutor? Registration for the six-week summer ReadUP program will open in May and registration for the 2019-2020 school year program will open in August. Keep checking the ReadUP website for details.