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YMCA Press Release

YMCA YREADS Program Celebrates Impactful Volunteers

July 2023 — The YMCA of Collier County's YREADS program is proud to highlight the dedicated volunteers who are making a difference in the lives of at-risk and low-income children. With 25 mentors across three local elementary schools, these volunteers are helping children build essential reading skills for future success.

The YMCA's YREADS program, held in Manatee, Parkside, and Golden Gate Elementary Schools, consists of phonics-based reading instruction, complemented by thoughtfully chosen books. One of its components, Afterschool KidzLit, is designed to align with educational standards and support students in enhancing their comprehension skills, expanding their vocabulary, and fostering a genuine passion for reading.

Under the guidance of Esta Alliker, the Lead YREADS Coordinator, the program has seen remarkable results. "I am incredibly grateful for the amazing individuals I've met through YREADS," Alliker commented. "They are true heroes, investing their time and energy into shaping the future of these students."

Who are these exceptional volunteers? They come from all walks of life - retired individuals, active business professionals, educators, parents, and grandparents. They all share a passion for improving children's lives through literacy. Alliker provides them with the necessary training, materials, and mentoring support to ensure a rewarding experience for both mentor and student.


Yazleen and Ivanna excited to show off their hard work to YREADS volunteer Debbie Hobbs
YREADS Volunteer Donald Pecora is giving students like Daniel and Kenasyn the tools they need to succeed.


Alliker stresses the significance of these volunteers in the program's success. "YREADS is driven by our dedicated mentors. Without their encouragement and support, the program simply wouldn't exist," she explained. "We're not just teaching reading skills - we're building self-esteem and nurturing a love for reading."

If you're interested in volunteering or learning more, please reach out to Esta Alliker at (239) 394-9622, ext. 114 or yreads@ymcacollier.org. The opportunity to join this impactful program awaits, and you'll be welcomed with open arms.