With so much of what used to be channeled through schools still rebuilding, Team Read recognizes how important it is to reach out to every family to confirm their child’s participation. About half of Team Read’s student readers come from households where English is not their first language. As many families are more comfortable communicating in their home language, Team Read recruited bilingual coaches who speak the most common languages in Seattle Public Schools (Spanish, Somali, Vietnamese, Chinese, Amharic, Tagalog and Arabic) to make phone calls to families before programming began this fall.

A group of 12 coaches and teen site assistants called about 90 families. They shared that many parents/guardians expressed appreciation that we took the time to communicate with them about the program in their home language.  Coaches also were happy for the opportunity to connect with families outside of Team Read. “I decided to help because as a person whose parents’ first language is not English, I thought that Vietnamese-speaking families would find it less stressful to receive a call or text about an opportunity for their child to join Team Read from somebody who shares their native language,” said site assistant, Kalie.

Site assistant Alexa agrees. “It was a great experience to have the opportunity to use my bilingual skills in the workplace to help support Spanish-speaking families,” she explained. “Through these phone calls, I was able to connect with parents and gain an understanding of how Team Read is making an impact.”

Thanks to all the fabulous coaches who helped with this outreach effort: Alexa, Amy, Hawi, Ismahan, Jessica, Kalie, Kamal, Louis, Mia, Rohan, Saif, and Sofia!  We’re so lucky to be able to tap into this skill you bring to our team.