Grade-level literacy skills can be taken for granted as children progress through elementary school, but not by ONE TO ONE Literacy Society which, for 24 years, has been helping young students strengthen this core ability. As their name suggests, ONE TO ONE provides one on one reading assistance sessions to elementary school children in public schools during school hours. Each student is seen for 30 minutes twice a week, and ONE TO ONE has helped over 12,000 children to date.
ONE TO ONE was recently approved for their second year of a three-year funding cycle with SVP. In their first year the organization made powerful strides in the areas of capacity and profile building. This was due in large part to increasing Executive Director Mary McGivern’s hours from part-time to full-time. ONE TO ONE was also able to increase their Volunteer Coordinator’s hours. The funding gave them breathing room to concentrate on sustainable growth and expansion in order to fill the ongoing need for literacy education.
In the last year ONE TO ONE has undergone a brand makeover, adjusting its logo to reflect a fresh image. ONE TO ONE thanks Partner Norm Francis for referring resources for rebranding. Their website was also redesigned to be more user, donor and volunteer-friendly.
Childhood literacy is an issue in all areas of Greater Vancouver and communities across BC, where children may not have books at home, a parent to read with them at night, or they live in a home where correct English is not spoken. With the support of SVP Lead Partner, Sam Znaimer, ONE TO ONE has been able to undertake significant expansion this fall, moving into nine new schools: three in Vancouver, three in North Vancouver, one in West Vancouver, and two high-need community schools piloted in Burnaby – the latter two representing new school districts for ONE TO ONE.
These new additions bring the number of schools ONE TO ONE serves to 68. Each school requires four to eight volunteers. In the last year, ONE TO ONE revitalized their volunteer recruitment plan to meet the demands of their expansion. Their previous recruitment process consisted of online postings and posters distributed to Vancouver libraries and branches of the Royal Bank of Canada. Now ONE TO ONE distributes posters much more extensively and has developed partnerships with organizations whose members are target volunteers, such as the BC Teachers’ Tutoring Society, seniors’ centres, BC Retired Teachers Association and the Fraserview Rotary Club – all of which promote ONE TO ONE in their newsletters. ONE TO ONE also pays for advertisements in the Vancouver Courier, North Shore News and Burnaby Now.
The results of this extra push for volunteers are already showing with an estimated 75-80 new volunteers this fall. With funding from SVP, ONE TO ONE worked with Partner Strath Goodship and Partners Greg and Michelle Malpass’ company, Traction on Demand, to create a Salesforce customer relationship management (CRM) system specifically designed for non-profits. This tool is absolutely critical for ONE TO ONE at their current stage of growth as they manage approximately 300 volunteers.
With the new CRM database, ONE TO ONE is able to efficiently manage their extensive volunteer base serving 68 schools – and help schedule the volunteers to the shifts required at each school. Even with these new faces, finding more volunteers remains the top priority for ONE TO ONE, so please consider telling your friends and family about this rewarding tutoring opportunity, especially those living in Vancouver or Burnaby. ONE TO ONE is also looking for a Board Member with communication and public relations experience, as well as Committee Members and fundraising event planners. ONE TO ONE is celebrating 25 years in 2015, so they are also looking for volunteers to plan how to best recognize this significant milestone. Contact Mary McGivern for more information.