– By Theresa Duque
When Tammy Campbell isn’t leading her team in the Lab’s IT Workstation Support Group, she likes to serve her West Contra Costa communities by advocating for students. Currently, she’s seeking volunteers as English writing and literacy coaches for her alma mater, Kennedy High School in Richmond, through WriterCoach Connection, a nonprofit with more than 600 volunteers currently supporting students in East Bay public schools.
Campbell learned about WriterCoach Connection while recently attending a Kennedy High School reunion. “I happened to meet Kennedy’s new principal, Felicia Phillips, and told her that I would like to work with the high school to help,” she said. According to Campbell, 97 percent of Kennedy High School’s students rely on a free/reduced lunch program, and nearly 39 percent are English Language learners.
At the time, Campbell had been developing a STEM outreach program involving Kennedy High and the Lab, so when Principal Phillips described the school’s partnership with WriterCoach, she knew right away that the nonprofit could provide a channel for Lab staff to make a difference at Kennedy High.
According to Campbell, the time commitment for coaching is approximately two hours once per month for each class you choose to support, and volunteers do not need to have any particular skill in writing to be a WriterCoach. “What the students need is someone who cares enough to communicate with and mentor them,” she said. “By demonstrating that you are vested in them, they become vested in themselves.”
“We especially need bilingual coaches to work with students in early stages of English literacy,” she added. “If you speak Spanish, Mandarin, Urdu, or Arabic, or know someone who does, please consider joining our team. We try to place all of our students with someone who can speak their language.”
Go here for more information about the WriterCoach Connection program, or here to sign up for a one-hour WriterCoach orientation. Be sure to indicate Kennedy High as your school of choice. If you have questions about the program, contact Tammy Campbell at x4460.