Our Volunteer Spotlight for March is the Valero Vanguard! The Valero Vanguard is a new SAYL partnership, but already they are making a great impact at their schools. The Vanguard, a retiree volunteer organization through Valero, first became involved with SAYL last spring, volunteering to help sort books with our Book Buddies team. “Valero’s culture of management has always been about giving back to the community, whether it’s United Way, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Junior Achievement and numerous other charitable organizations. The Valero Vanguard gives retirees a chance to continue to give back to our community as well as continued engagement with Valero,” noted Vanguard member Charles Franks.
Since last spring, the Vanguard has expanded their volunteer efforts with SAYL and are now also part of our Reading Buddy family. “I signed up to be both a Reading Buddy and Book Buddy after learning about the programs at a presentation made to the Valero Vanguard Retiree club. I was very impressed with the organization and goals of the programs and already had experience as a Bible teacher to 2nd and 3rd graders so decided to sign up,” noted Robert Amass, President of the Vanguard. “The statistics provided about the needs and impact of reading skills at this level convinced me there was a great need for volunteers,” added Amass.
As Reading Buddies, Vanguard members have shown enthusiasm and dedication, getting right into the work of helping support their students grow as readers. “[Reading] will benefit the children for years to come. It is not only useful but imperative in being able to successfully get through other courses in school and life in general,” stated David Gross, member of the Vanguard.
This is the Vanguard’s first year serving as Reading Buddy volunteers at three schools, and we can safely say it won’t be their last! “The smiles and gratitude are more than adequate payment for the time invested,” said Amass.
In addition to looking forward to the smiles and connections they are making with their students, the Vanguard also sees the long term effect they are having. “I, along with other Valero employees and retirees, believe that spending time mentoring students is an investment in our future since the students are our future,” noted Franks.
Thank you, Valero Vanguard for all you do for SAYL, your students, and for the entire San Antonio community!