Close to 100 volunteers currently serve as tutors to supplement reading instruction through the Ready. Set. READ! initiative. Marco Calderon, Project Manager in the UGI Energy Services Business Development Group, shares why he volunteers and why he believes it is important for our community to focus on boosting reading proficiency.

Marco CalderonHow did you become involved with the tutoring  program?  United Way has partnered with the UGI community and other companies to fill the need for tutors in our schools.  UGI has made it very easy for me to volunteer and serve in this role.

What do you personally gain through your involvement?  For an hour a week, I connect with two kids in a truly meaningful way.  Sharing the joy of reading with them is uplifting, fulfilling, and humbling.  Even if I only play a small role in the children's development, I feel that I am giving them a gift that will stay with them forever and will help them expand their horizons in the future.  Plus, I get to be called Mr. Marco.

Share a highlight/memorable experience about your tutoring experience.  On my first day of tutoring, I was surprised to see how the kids were so enthusiastic and truly excited to read.  They wanted to keep reading even when we ran out of time.  They are eager to learn.  I hope to keep that enthusiasm alive and turn it into measurable progress.
Why would you recommend others become involved with the Ready. Set. READ! initiative?  I would encourage others to become involved because the need is so great, the effort is minimal, and the impact is real.  This important life skill is crucial at the children's current stage of development and invaluable for their future, and it costs me nothing to share but a couple hours of my time.  I can only reach two kids, but there is a classroom full of others behind them waiting for more tutors.  You can reach another child or two, and your colleague can reach yet another child or two.

Fill in the blank:
This work is important to the community because __________."  The future of our community depends on the future of our youth.  It is important for us to do what we can to ensure our youth head into the world with the tools they need to succeed.


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