These men are part of the REAL SuperMENtors Read program, a mentoring program in which men from the Houston community commit one hour of their time to read, once a month. The program is a part of the ongoing HCDE Head Start Significant Male Initiative formed in 2002 to encourage male involvement throughout the HCDE Head Start centers.
The program works by recruiting, selecting and assigning mentors to each school. Mentors commit to at least one hour, once a month between October and May to read to students. During the month of May children celebrate their SuperMENtors.
Gary Whitt, Bank of Texas senior vice president, is in his fourth year of participating in the SuperMENtor program and is one of three from the bank to mentor at the Fifth Ward Head Start Center. Bank of Texas also donated to the program this year to supply books.
“This is a great opportunity to give back and know the good work that is being done and being able to participate has been rewarding,” he said. “The teachers here are amazing and it’s great to see the development of the children from the first time you read to last time, especially the ones that I have seen two years in a row. This is my favorite thing to do each month and I like how the location can be geared towards where we work.”
Bank of Texas also donated over $7,000 to the program this year to supply books.
Urban Enrichment Institute Mentoring Coordinator Michael Scott is in his first year and wanted to continue being a role model to youth after serving as a teacher in Houston ISD.
“I believe it’s life purpose to serve the youth by empowering and helping them develop,” he said. “Even though it’s just once a month, you build a relationship with the students and look forward to having that time to come and share something fun with them. The joy that you get in return can’t match the time you put in.”
SuperMENtor volunteers come from a multitude of businesses and are community members from across the greater Houston area. Additionally, through corporate sponsors, participating students receive a copy of the book read to them each month to grow a home library.
Reading dates are the second Thursday of each month beginning in October through May. Each school site will work with its mentor, as needed, for scheduling reading dates.
To sign-up to be a mentor, fill out the form at https://bit.ly/2RWAATZ and email to SuperMENtors@hcde-texas.org.
For more information on the REAL SuperMENtors Read program at HCDE Head Start, please contact Armando Rodriguez at 713-696-2179 or e-mail SuperMENtors@hcde-texas.org.