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Best Schools
October 1, 2014
 
Re: Brandon Elementary's HOSTS Program Begins for the School Year
Contact: Sheila Adams, Director of Communications, (936)630-4246
 
Lufkin, TX -- HOSTS (Help One Student to Succeed) is a program at the Brandon Elementary campus that connects mentors with students who could use some extra help with their reading skills. The program kicked off its 18th year Monday with more than 130 volunteers ranging from parents, grandparents to business leaders and the Mayor of Lufkin. Volunteers help the students with a planned curriculum that extends until April. They are assigned a day and time and spend 30 minutes, if not more, with the student four days a week.
 
Sheila Skelton, HOSTS Director, said, “Our volunteers love it! They build a relationship with the students and are proud to be giving back and investing in the future of children. They also gain the self-satisfaction of helping a child to improve their reading skills.” Mrs. Skelton went on to say that she has seen students in the program increase their reading level by two to three years. One rare incident she mentioned was that a student went from a 2.8 reading level to a 6.3 reading level. She said, “This student’s reading just took off. This program works in some form for all children involved.”
 
This year there are 46 third graders in the program. The students were chosen through various testing and teacher recommendation. Most of these students need a boost in fluency and comprehension and that’s where a daily intervention program like HOSTS makes the biggest difference.
 
The program is not only for adults to help mentor but also 5th grade Brandon students help out. Skelton said, “Our 5th grade students mentor in the HOSTS program. We train them and treat them like one of our new adult volunteers. What I like to see is some of our 5th graders are former HOSTS kids who now give back to the program that helped them. They also know what to do and how to mentor the students since they’ve been here before. It’s neat to see.”
 
The program is fortunate to have the community support both in volunteer hours and financially. Recently the T.L.L. Temple Foundation provided a grant to the HOSTS program to expand technology and supplies.
 
Anyone who wishes to volunteer for the HOSTS program and make a difference in a child’s life can call Sheila Shelton, HOSTS Director, at (936)633-7629.
 
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