715 S. New St.
Commonwealth Hall, Lower Level
Enter at Student Health Services
West Chester, PA 19383
Founded in 2012, WCU's America Reads Youth Mentoring Program is an academic enrichment program that sends college students into the community to mentor youth in local after-school and childcare programs. College students serving as mentors build positive relationships with children, provide homework assistance, enhance social skill development of youth, and facilitate educational games and extracurricular activities while developing their own professional skills.
Currently, WCU partners with six community agencies to engage 40+ WCU student mentors with nearly 500 children each academic year.
“I love the America Reads Program!” -Mentor, Fall 2017
“I was helping a child with her homework and taught her to do the math problem she did not think she could do… she will always be able to remember the mnemonic [device] I made up which will help her solve future math problems. I [helped] the child [be] more confident in herself and her ability to do math.”
-Mentor, Fall 2017
“The students at WCU are the heartbeat of our program because they provide an immeasurable service to our younger students… We view WCU as a really important partner. Together, we are providing academic, social, cultural, and civic support to the most underserved community of West Chester.”
- Ken Winston, Executive Director of The Charles A Melton Arts & Education Center
If you are interested in becoming a mentor, contact the America Reads Youth Mentoring Program Coordinator to schedule an interview. Mentors can engage in this program as volunteers or through the Federal Work Study program. You can learn more about the Mentor experience below in the FAQs section.
Mentors are expected to spend 6-10 hours each week mentoring youth in the community for at least one full semester. Staying involved in the program for a full academic yaer is highly encouraged, as this has the greatest impact on the children you are mentoring.
Mentors are also required to attend monthly program-wide Professional Development Workshops and monthly Reflection Meetings on campus. Monthly Professional Development Workshops gather all Mentors from across the program to provide skill development opportunities to be successful within and beyond the mentor role. Previous workshop topics include: Behavioral/Classroom Management, Communication Strategies, LGBTQIA Ally Training, Resume and Interview Preparation, Self-Care Strategies, etc. Monthly Reflection Meetings are led by your student Site Leader, gathering the WCU Mentors from your respective community agency to discuss your experiences, reflect on the impact you are having on the children, and problem-solve any issues you are having on site.
Failure to complete these requirements can lead to removal from the program. If your class schedule prohibits you from attending a workshop or reflection meeting, you must notify the Program Coordinator to identify make-up opportunities.
In order to work with the youth in our community, you must complete three clearances:
All clearances must be turned into the Office of Service-Learning and Volunteer Programs (and Human Resources if you are a Federal Work-Study student) prior to starting at your agency. Some agencies will require additional clearances (i.e. tuberculosis) in order to serve as a Mentor. These details will be outlined more clearly once you are placed at a specific agency.
In order to determine your eligibility, you must complete the FASFA and state that you are interested in a Federal Work Study position. If you are unsure whether you completed this form, the easiest way to check your status is to contact Financial Aid at WCU.
Once you confirm you are Federal Work Study eligible, you must submit a Federal Work Study Student Employment Application and indicate on the application that you want to work in the America Reads Youth Mentoring Program. Financial Aid will review Federal Work Study applications in the order in which they were received. If you are next in line to be offered a Work Study position, the America Reads Youth Mentoring Program Coordinator will contact you to set up an interview to discuss the position and program expectations.
Mentors are expected to spend 6-10 hours each week mentoring youth in the community for at least one full semester, as well as attend monthly program-wide Professional Development Workshops and monthly Reflection Meetings on campus. If you are willing and able to commit to those requirements, then this program can absolutely help you fulfill your volunteer hours for a class.
If you need a different type of volunteer experience for your class assignment, contact the Office of Service-Learning and Volunteer Programs for assistance or visit us on the ground floor of Commonwealth Hall at the "Student Health Services" entrance to the building.
Absolutely not! The America Reads Youth Mentoring Program is open to any student with a passion for helping youth in our community.
No way! We partner with six different agencies within Chester County and the majority of our partners are within walking distance to campus. When you have your interview with the Program Coordinator, your transportation needs will be discussed when determining site placement.
Click on each image to learn more about our community partners!
The mission of the historic Charles A. Melton Center is to contribute to the quality of life for all people of the greater West Chester community by continuing its long commitment of providing educational, recreational, cultural, and civic services.
Henderson High School's Academic Intervention Program helps students in grades 9 to 12 enhance their academic experience by providing students with the necessary skills and abilities, as well as providing mentoring to the students.
The mission of the Coatesville Kids to College program is to ensure that all the youth of Coatesville have the skills, resources and supports necessary for them to attend and successfully graduate from a college of their choice.The Coatesville Kids to College program operates Monday through Friday from 2:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
The St. Agnes Day Room prepares preschool aged children to enter into kindergarten by focusing on literacy and academic skill development. This is a great placement for students interested in working with youth who speak Spanish.
The YMCA Believe & Achieve program focuses on improving the lives and futures of children in need by providing safe, supervised quality care for children, ages 5 to 15. This program offers free after school care, tutoring, homework help, and mentoring at the YMCA.
The YMCA Childcare Early Learning Center focuses on providing Pre-K and Kindergarten students with lessons carefully designed to activate children's imaginations and encourage lifelong, positive values.
Online reading comprehension games from first grade readers to advanced readers
These online games can be used on the computer or a mobile device. Adobe Flash Player capabilities are necessary for all of the games listed below.