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Senior center members launch Arise2Read at Harvest elementary

MADISON – As Madison Senior Center or MSC memberships continue to increase, so does their programming.

“Our programs are not just for our members but (these opportunities are) also for the people of our community,” MSC Program Coordinator Rachael Burrus said. MSC leaders have launched a new Intergenerational Program or IGP that is named Arise2Read or A2R.

Arise2Read allows volunteers to visit local elementary schools to work with second-grade students who are lagging in study with their reading curriculum.

Each student receives one-on-one assistance in a 30-minute period, every Monday and Friday. Willowbrook Baptist Church sponsors and administers Arise2Read locally and recruits, trains and performs background checks for all volunteers, along with providing all reading materials.

Burrus invited Kenny Watts, A2R Volunteer Coordinator at Harvest elementary, to give a 20-minute presentation at MSC. “I was hoping to add one or two volunteers, but I was pleasantly surprised when 23 seniors, several of whom are former educators, signed up to volunteer,” Watts said.

“Our members have a lot of love to offer and are ready to serve their local community,” Burrus said. “I’m excited, not only for our members, but for the students of Harvest elementary. Both groups are in for a blessing.”

“There is great value in the program as teachers and volunteers see students greatly improving within a month,” Watts said.

George Wallace, MSC member and A2R volunteer, has been volunteering for two years. “I love it. By the second visit, students remembered my name and are excited to begin reading. It makes my day,” Wallace said.

With A2R serving at 10 campuses in Huntsville City Schools and Madison County Schools, the goal is to expand to Madison City Schools. For more information about the A2R program, call Burrus at 256-461-1638.

IGP is a service that allows older and younger generations to share talents and resources that benefit each other in an organized event. The mission of Madison Senior Center is to provide health, wellness education, cultural, recreational and fun programs and services to senior adults living in Madison.

Madison Senior Center’s address is 1282 Hughes Road. For more information, call 256-461-1638, email rachael.burrus@madisonal.gov or visit Facebook/ Madison City Senior Center.

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