Charlottesville United Way Holds Mentor and Tutor Fair

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A mentor can make a lasting impact on a child's life.

Monday, the seeds of a host of meaningful relationships between Charlottesville mentors and children started to take root at the United Way's mentor and tutor fair.

Dozens of people came to the fair Monday. Volunteers are ready to coach children of Charlottesville, who often teach the volunteers in return.

One Clark Elementary School first-grader has come a long way since he started working with his tutor, Janie Stratos, this fall.

"He's made tremendous progress going from short vowel sounds and now he's progressed into reading on his own. At certain times I look at him and go, ‘well this is just fabulous,'" Stratos said.

Stratos started volunteering for the Charlottesville City Schools' Book Buddies program when her children graduated from the school system and went off to college.

"It just is a huge sense of fulfillment; it gives me another purpose to my day, and another way that I can help someone and feel good about myself," Stratos said.

Book Buddies was one of 14 booths at the fair. The fair was a chance for potential volunteers to find the right program for them.

"We've got energy and we need to put it to work," said Jeanette Rosenberg, a Book Buddies coordinator.

Finding the right program is the first step to finding a child who will truly appreciate that one-on-one attention.

"Sometimes the kids will say, ‘who else do you come in and work with?' And the tutors will say, ‘I just come in and work with you John,' and they are flabbergasted because that's pretty powerful that they take time twice a week for two hours a week to work with this one child," Rosenberg said.

"It's just a really great feeling to know that you've had a positive impact on another person," Stratos said.

To check out opportunities for mentoring and tutoring, click here.