Volunteers must be 16 years or older. Parental permission is required for those younger than 18.
Volunteers for Community Impact (VCI) has a long and successful history of reaching at-risk and special needs children by providing educational success through caring, older, adult volunteers. The AmeriCorps Seniors Foster Grandparent Program is our largest intergenerational program that matches seniors with special or exceptional needs children.
OTTER: Older Teachers Teaching Early Readers was originally created in 2004 and funded by the Winter Park Health Foundation as a demonstration project by VCI’s first Executive Director, Jane Watkins. OTTER volunteers (ages 55+) were trained in child development, cultural consciousness, early childhood literacy, and read aloud techniques. The program utilized preschool curricula such as ELLM (Early Learning Literacy Model from the University of North Florida) and Scholastic’s Big Day for Pre-K. OTTER was initially designed as a subset of the AmeriCorps Seniors Foster Grandparent Program, using AmeriCorps Seniors Foster Grandparent volunteers to deliver the OTTER curriculum.
Volunteer opportunities are now available to AmeriCorps Seniors Foster Grandparent Program, AmeriCorps Seniors RSVP Program, and community volunteers in Orange County who are 16 years or older and wish to read aloud and instill a lifetime love of reading to PreK students. The program currently utilizes Scholastic’s REAL (Read Excel Achieve Lead), the Whole Book Approach, and Visual Thinking Strategies curricula to help young students succeed academically, personally, socially, and emotionally.
Using best practices learned from our AmeriCorps Seniors Foster Grandparent Program and from our previous iteration of OTTER, we provide an early prevention/intervention approach to literacy by engaging volunteers in VPK and Head Start centers as well as virtual teleconferencing options for families when applicable. If you are 16 years or older and wish to share your love of reading and books with young children, please consider volunteering with OTTER. If you are the parent or guardian of a child between the ages of 4 and 5 in Orange County, please consider signing up for virtual home visits.
Your commitment for 12 monthly donations will help support children in the program by providing a book-of-the-month to them to read every month for a whole year! Help bring the magic of reading to pre-k children and grow into great future students!
$7 a month ($84) – provides for 3 children
$14 a month ($168) – provides for 6 children
$28 a month ($336) – provides for 12 children