FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Reed recognized for its involvement in the SMART reading program
For its students' involvement during the 2003-04 school year, Reed receives recognition as one of SMART's Top Volunteer Sponsors
PORTLAND, OR (August 20, 2004) - The dedication of Reed College students volunteering with SMART (Start Making A Reader Today) has resulted in the college recently being recognized as one of the non-profit reading assistance program's Top Volunteer Sponsors for the 2003-04 school year. In receiving the honor, Reed joins an elite list of well-known organizations that includes Nike, PacifiCorp, and The Oregonian.
The honor is a significant boost for the college's community service program. Currently, between 25 and 40 Reed students volunteer through Reed's SEEDS (Students for Education, Empowerment, and Direct Service) with SMART by traveling to schools across the Portland area to both assist efforts in reading and to inspire a love of books in young students.
"SMART is about building a relationship between one kid and a volunteer over the course of a semester. It's not just teaching kids to read, but ensuring a positive experience with reading that matters most," notes Louis Cohen, coordinator of Reed's community service program.
He adds that the award also "illustrates that a small liberal arts college and its students can make a recognizable ripple in the Portland community."
Reed's connection with SMART is long established and dynamic. When Cohen first came to Reed two and a half years ago, the school already possessed close volunteer ties with the program. Today, Reed focuses on expanding its volunteer connections with SMART and on working to increase the number of Reed students who volunteer with the program.
And what do Reed students think of SMART? Niall P. O'Donoghue offers one opinion. "It is great fun to read with the kids at Woodmere [Elementary] and [Harriet] Tubman [Middle School]. Both programs are well placed in their respective schools, and it is considered a great honor for students to be able to participate. The kids very much enjoy their time, and look forward to it each week."
Since its inception in 1991, SMART has had a profound affect across the state of Oregon. Initially existing in eight pilot schools, the program's great success has allowed for its expansion to 140 schools across the state.
In its efforts, SMART targets underprivileged students who may not have received an adequate exposure to books in their early childhood. Through its volunteers, SMART seeks to improve the reading skills of students in need. Most importantly, however, SMART desires to foster a love of learning in these students through the positive experiences in reading that they have with the volunteers.
Reed College, in Portland, Oregon, is an undergraduate institution of the liberal arts and sciences dedicated to sustaining the highest intellectual standards in the country. With an enrollment of about 1,360 students, Reed ranks third in the undergraduate origins of Ph.D.s in the United States and second in the number of Rhodes Scholars from a liberal arts college (31 since 1915). For more information, visit web.reed.edu .