More classroom volunteers needed; training dates set

Ray Kemp (center), facilitating a small reading group in Ashley Carranza’s (center right) fourth grade classroom during the 2017-18 school year. (submitted photo)

Classroom volunteers trained and placed by Your Experience Counts contribute significantly to student learning and motivation, according to both principals and teachers in an end-of-year survey.

More than 100 teachers and principals completed the survey at the end of the 2017-18 school year, according to a press release. Mike Beardslee, YEC program manager, says 92 percent of principals and 90 percent of teachers said that volunteers made a significant impact or contribution to student learning.

Additionally, 93 percent of teachers said that their volunteers helped improve student motivation to learn, the press release stated.

Your Experience Counts serves schools in the west Valley (Dysart Unified and Imagine Desert West), east Valley (Mesa Public Schools), and Phoenix (Osborn, Balsz, and Washington Elementary School District).

“We placed 92 volunteers in 25 schools last year,” Mr. Beardslee said in a prepared statement. “Based on requests we have from principals, we will need 120 classroom volunteers for the upcoming year.”

While many volunteers are retired from professional fields, the military and education, others are stay-at-home moms, part-time workers or college students, the press release stated. Several husband-wife teams serve as volunteers. Most volunteers spend two-to-five hours per week in grades three through six working as a partner with a mentor-teacher supporting small groups of students in math, reading and other subjects, including STEM.

Ray Kemp (left), a Your Experience Counts volunteer at Tillman Middle School, was recently honored for his service by YEC Program Manager Mike Beardslee. Kemp, a retired lawyer, has volunteered with YEC for 9 years. (submitted photo)

Dealing with large class sizes and the need to provide small group interventions, teachers particularly value having a trained and caring adult volunteer to support them.

Ashley Carranza, a teacher at Tillman Middle School (formerly Balsz Elementary), says of her volunteer, Ray Kemp: “I cannot even begin to express my appreciation for what Ray does in my classroom. Myself and my students look forward to his time with us. The kids cheer when they get to work with him. He is patient with all students and treats them with respect. He makes our classroom community a better place.”

YEC, a program of HandsOn Greater Phoenix, provides extensive training for volunteers in reading and math strategies and small group management. Two-day training sessions for new and returning volunteers are scheduled for: Aug. 22-23 in Phoenix; Sept. 24-25 in Mesa; and Oct. 3-4 in Surprise.

For more information, or to volunteer for the 2018-19 school year, contact Mr. Beardslee at; 623-223-9248; or visit

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