Local church calls for volunteers to help improve reading levels in underprivileged area

Former educators sought to join after school program as reading mentors

SAN ANTONIO – Denise Santana has a lot of patience and love for the kids she serves through the Harpers Chapels Ministries.

The free after-school program has grown in popularity, prompting volunteers to expand services from one to three days a week.

“The kids need consistency,” Santana said.

Children in the program are given something to eat, a safe place to hang out and tutoring.

Santana has noticed many of them desperately need help with their reading.

“I have sixth graders reading that first-grade level. I have eighth-graders reading at a first-grade level. So, we really need somebody that can come and work with these kids,” she said.

The students come from Fox Tech, Lanier and Jefferson high schools, Rhodes Middle School and Fenwick Academy — all campuses with a B or lower under the Texas Education Agency’s accountability ratings. Harpers Chapels Ministries is located in the 78207 ZIP code, one of the most impoverished areas of San Antonio.

Pastor Vincent Robinson hopes volunteers can help make a difference for the kids.

“Sometimes they just cry. You know, they just cry because of the struggles, and with those struggles come bullying. So we have some of our kids that get bullied in school,” he said.

The hope is that former educators can become part of a group of consistent volunteers who can show up for the kids in the community.

“The more volunteers we have, the more we can get things accomplished,” Robinson said.

Volunteers will only need to spend about 15 to 30 minutes with students. They will need to do a background check. The form can be found at the bottom of the church’s page. More information here.

About the Authors

Patty Santos joined the KSAT 12 News team in July 2017. She has a proven track record of reporting on hard-hitting news that affects the community.

Alexis Montalbo is a photojournalist at KSAT 12.

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