100 volunteers, that's how many the city of Meridian needs! The volunteers are needed to help prepare third grade students within the Meridian Public School District prepare for testing this spring.
"Because if we have kids that don't matriculate to the fourth grade that is going to adversely affect our human resource capitol, our children, our district," says Mayor Percy Bland. He says this is is one of the key reasons why everyone in the Queen City should have keen interest in all third grade students within the Meridian Public School District passing the newly implemented reading exam in April.
"It affects the rest of the city," says Ward One Councilman, Dr. George Thomas. "It affects our tax base. It affects businesses operating in the city. It affects whether someone wants to move to Meridian if they have young children."
That's why Mayor Bland and members of the city council are teaming up to solicit 100 volunteers by Monday of next week to start helping third grade students within the district with reading until the test is given in April.
"We want to read to the students," says Ward Four Councilwoman Kim Houston, "and allow those students to read back to us whether that's during the day, or during the after-school program."
In accordance with state law, Councilwoman Houston says a $40 fee is needed so that a background check can be done by the district on volunteers.
"When you're working with youth we have to make sure that you're able to do that. It's a state thing."
The $40 fee is not needed for parents who want to volunteer at the school where their child attends, and Houston says if needed, sponsors will pay the fee for others who cannot afford it.
Ultimately, she and other members of the council say that helping these students succeed is critical.
"If we can get those people to commit to those ten weeks and show up, I'll promise that it will make a difference in our community."
There are six elementary schools and 503 third grade students within the Meridian Public School District. City leaders say they need the 100 volunteers by Monday, January 12th. To volunteer contact Councilwoman Kim Houston at (601) 483-9043.