by Katherine Newman
96 days ago
WordPlay is a
space in Northside where children can come for free tutoring services and
creative encouragement. This nonprofit organization is dedicated to breaking
the cycle of poverty by improving the quality of life, education and
opportunities for kids in Cincinnati.
In just more
than three years, WordPlay has gone from seeing two to four students a day to
somewhere around 160 kids a week. The growing organization provides academic
after-school programs, creative writing workshops and summer programs for
grades K-12. “WordPlay Scholars” is their academic after-school program
reserved for children who meet the low-income criteria. “WordUP” is a creative
program offered to students at Aiken High School and Hughes High School. “Happy
Hour” is a creative workshop and is open to all, low-income or not. It is a
time where children can collaborate in a creative format and learn from each
Volunteer: “Volunteers are just as valuable as
money,” says Libby Hunter, co-founder of WordPlay. It is a goal for the
organization to match each child with a tutor for a special one-on-one
experience. This means that at any given time, WordPlay needs a volunteer team
of at least 150 people. To begin volunteering as a tutor, first contact WordPlay
through e-mail and schedule a training session (you’ll also need to pass a
background check). During the school year, tutors must be 18 or older. Tutors
should be able to make a commitment of two sessions per month, each two hours
long. Literacy skill work, creative reading and homework time happens 3-5 p.m.
Monday- Thursday — this is when tutors are needed the most.
school subjects is not a requirement for volunteers, but a genuine interest to
be part of WordPlay is. During training, a lot of time is spent talking about
the culture and the environment that is being created at WordPlay. “Having that
one-on-one time with a kid makes a difference, even if you have to ask your
neighbor for help with a homework problem,” Hunter says.
scenes, volunteers make up an advisory board to review and evaluate every
program at WordPlay. Anyone with expertise in developing and assessing creative
curriculum is encouraged to reach out and offer their skills.
Makers” is a working concept at the moment. The goal is to cultivate a group of
young creatives willing to tap into their existing social networks and organize
outreach events. “It will raise a little money but really focus on outreach and
awareness of the issues WordPlay is addressing,” Hunter says. This is a unique
opportunity to get on the ground level of WordPlay’s outreach program.
Donate: “Close the Gap” is a fundraising
initiative created to benefit summer learning programs specifically. “Children
from low-income households tend to not have equal access to summer enrichment
programs,” Hunter says. “That is where they lose a lot of ground in terms of
reading proficiency and other academic skills.” WordPlay provides free summer
enrichment programs to help kids keep their skills up and stay on track.
never have enough school supplies, specifically copy paper, lined paper and
composition notebooks. Donating gently used or new books is a cheap and easy
way to help WordPlay succeed. Free books are offered for kids all year long.
Check the attic for old typewriters to donate. A WordPlay volunteer works to
recondition them for resale. The money from typewriter sales and repairs goes
directly back into their programs.
WordPlay is partnering with Spun Bicycles to host Ride for Reading, during
which a parade of 60-70 cyclists will fill their bags and baskets full of
donated books and ride them to Parker Woods Montessori. Volunteers will be
waiting with tables set up to distribute the books to students. This means they
will need a lot of book donations ahead of time. The organization is collecting
books from now until the ride. “The kids are out in the parking lot and you
would think it’s a Rock concert the way that they scream and cheer when the
bike parade pulls in,” Hunter says. This is the fourth year WordPlay has done
this, and Parker Woods is the biggest school so far, with 500 students. In the
past, they have been able to give 10 books to each student.
For more information about programs and how to
getting involved with WORDPLAY e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit wordplaycincy.org.
0 Comments · Wednesday, April 16, 2014
For the past eight-plus years, I have
been facilitating an evolving after-school program that began quite
innocently with me subbing in for my CityBeat colleague Kathy Y.
Northside-based nonprofit promotes literacy in local youth
0 Comments · Tuesday, November 27, 2012
What first started as a community forum to
reach neighborhood children resulted in a nonprofit organization called
WordPlay, which offers a place outside the home where kids can get
tutoring and work on creative projects that aim to create confidence and
allow for positive social engagement.