The new school year is nearly upon us and that means the call for volunteers is going out from various groups who support area programs and classrooms.

The Volunteer Center of Sonoma County, along with the United Way of the Wine Country, is again spearheading Schools of Hope – a one on one, volunteer program aimed at getting struggling kindergarten through third graders up to grade level reading over the course of a year. It’s a commitment of one hour each week for an entire school year. Volunteers will be paired with the same student all year.

Other volunteer programs that help students in the sciences or math are also available through the Volunteer Center and their Literacy Connection program.

Interested in finding a way to help that works with your schedule? The folks at the Volunteer Center and United Way seem flexible, so give them a call at (Barbara Fisher at the Volunteer Center 573-3399 ext 122 or Jennifer O’Donnell at the United Way 528-4485 ext. 110).

There are multiple orientations upcoming including sessions on Aug. 13 from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. for those interested in Schools of Hope. For Literacy Connection, an orientation is scheduled for Aug. 16 from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. and again on Aug. 30 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. More orientations will be scheduled. Call the offices for details.

A volunteer recruitment party with Carlos Ayala, dean of the School of Education at SSU, and Steve Herrington, Sonoma County Superintendent of Schools, is scheduled for 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 23 at the Rincon Valley branch library, 6959 Montecito Ave.

For more about the Schools of Hope, check out this story: http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20101005/ARTICLES/101009712