“Our reliable volunteers make the program successful at the school. We have parents and grandparents who are Volunteer Coaches who don’t have children in the program, but are committed to and passionate about literacy and working with children.”

- Theodora Kiefer-Kennedy, Site Co-ordinator

“Last year, I was volunteering with a little girl who had some trouble with her reading. She enjoyed playing the games but didn’t want to read any of the books. Then one day, she grabbed a book before I even sat down and her reading soared from there on. Even today, every time she sees me in the hallways, she asks me if it’s her turn- she completed the program a year ago!”

- Taryn Wagner, Site Co-ordinator and Volunteer Coach

"The Letters, Sounds and Words program is a highly valuable resource for schools to utilize. Children are able to quickly excel in an area that they might previously have been struggling. As a volunteer, it is extremely rewarding to see the children that I work with make such positive learning strides in only 10 sessions. Personally, I enjoy seeing the children on a weekly basis, and I miss them once the sessions are completed. I feel fortunate that I can simply offer a small amount of my time, which in turn makes such a vital difference for a child."

- Sue Buric, Volunteer Coach

“You would never think that over a 10-week period you would develop such a strong rapport with a couple of little ones, but I can tell you, it does happen. Over the course of my 10-weeks volunteering, we did grow very fond of seeing each other and it was nice to see the looks on their faces when I arrived at the door.”

Joe Persia, Volunteer Coach

“Speaking as a Volunteer Coach, it’s a wonderful relationship you build with the child. You get to see over time how they improve. I think it’s a win-win for everyone. “

Jenny Guibert, Professor in the Faculty of Education, Wilfrid Laurier University

“I started with Strong Start as a volunteer because I saw the difference it made in my son. He went from a child who refused to read and didn’t enjoy books to someone who really enjoyed books. Seeing the difference it made in my son also made me decide that I wanted to become a Site Co-ordinator so it was at our local school.”

Monica Cressman, Volunteer Site Co-ordinator

“The children I coach come in a little bit timid, a little bit unsure and by coaching them with the Strong Start program, I’m giving them confidence. Later they come in enthusiastic and wanting to learn.”

Linda Llewellyn, Volunteer Coach

“I really love the Strong Start program. I think if you can teach a person to read, they can learn to do anything. It’s so exciting to see a child start on that path of identifying letters and sounds…it’s amazing to watch."

Bethany Jakob, Volunteer Coach

“I love to see how the children’s progress in the 10 weeks, it’s really rewarding."

Georgia Solomon-Campbell, Volunteer Coach

“The training was excellent. It really gave me an opportunity to get some hands-on experience playing the games and understanding the program as a whole. The manuals are really easy to understand as well and implementing the program from the training was really simple

David Moore, Volunteer Coach

“Volunteering with Strong Start is a wonderful way to make use of your time helping children. The Strong Start program is very well laid out, so you don’t need special training, you don’t need to be an educator to be able to work with these children.”

Dawna Whitehead, Volunteer Site Co-ordinator

"I love interacting with the young ones, the children are full of joy and enthusiasm. They are so eager to learn and so proud of themselves as I encourage them forward and praise them with their accomplishments. To be honest, I think I get as much enjoyment from the experience as they do. It truly is a rewarding program, and I don't hesitate to tell anyone just that! I do look forward to working with the little children."

Marina Fleming, Volunteer Coach