The ONE TO ONE program in Kamloops and area has been going strong for 25 years! Thankfully, this school year looks a lot more like the pre-pandemic years with approximately 140 volunteer tutors supporting 22 in-person programs and one virtual program in School District 73. Our program has grown over the last quarter century through hard work and dedication, but most of all through the strong relationships we’ve nurtured.

As district coordinator in Kamloops, I am responsible for supporting my volunteer school coordinators. Each program school in our district has a school staff member who supports ONE TO ONE, and most schools have a volunteer school coordinator that maintains the program at their school.

Every year we host three volunteer school coordinator meetings. It is an opportunity for everyone to come together and discuss successes and challenges, share new ideas and resources, and learn from each other. At the end of January, we held another very successful school coordinator meeting.

It was great to see everyone in person, and we had fun learning and practicing some phonics games using our new kits from a Canadian company called Box Cars and One-Eyed Jacks. We also reviewed the concept of “Dialogic Conversations” from The Six Shifts (link here) and how it could be used in a ONE TO ONE reading session to support students’ comprehension. All the volunteer school coordinators left the meeting excited to share the new ideas with the tutors at their schools.

There is no question about it: our volunteer school coordinators are an essential link between the school, the tutors and ONE TO ONE. Their dedication is evident in the number of hours they devote to the program at their school. They set things up in the fall, tend to issues over the year, and organize tutor meetings and wind-up parties.

The wind-up parties in particular are a great chance to hear from the coordinators and students and to see how much pride everyone involved has in their program. Let me share one of my favourite quotes from a student:

At a ONE TO ONE wind-up party one little boy was awarded his completion certificate and excitedly said:

“Hooray!  Now I can go to TWO TO TWO!”

Whether it is at a wind-up party, tutor coffee chat, or volunteer school coordinator meeting, we always enjoy getting together to share our ONE TO ONE experiences. The relationships we build within our ONE TO ONE team and those the tutors build with their students are at the heart of the ONE TO ONE program.

(Photo courtesy of Cami Klohn, ONE TO ONE district coordinator – second from right).

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