“The Weekly Reader” – Austin Vlog #002

“Hey Joe.” “Hey, Dave.” “How are you man? Where are we headed?” “We’re gonna go somewhere where we can see God at work in our community.” “Okay. Love it. That’s
what we’re looking for. How is God at work in our city? We are on a journey to discover and document this unfolding story. This is Deidox Austin. This episode, the Weekly Reader. We’re headed over to Copperfield Elementary to read to two second graders. Joe owns a general contractor and construction company with over 300 employees Some of their work includes the widening of highway 71 many community subdivisions and facility parking lots and sidewalks
throughout Austin. “The sidewalks and the parking lots and stuff you see here for deliverance temple that’s one of our projects.” “This is one of your projects
right here.” “Right.” His company also did the work out at Community First and there recently working on a project called The Refuge that provides services
for women that are coming out of sex trafficking But what Joe is up to today really has absolutely nothing to do with construction There’s I think about a thousand volunteers every week that read in different school districts. All the way from Marble Falls to Manor, Round Rock to Del Valle And so on a typical day, I’m just one of potentially hundreds of people that are going into the schools volunteering to read to the kids and and help them with their literacy problems In the greater Austin area there are thousands of children who are not reading at grade level. Research has shown that if a child is not reading at grade level by the end of third grade, they’re four times more likely to drop out of high school And they’re also more likely to lack
sufficient employment and end up in prison. Up to the third grade kids are learning to read and after that they read to learn. So it’s critical the kids can read by the fourth grade so that they don’t get left behind in school. “Titus can you go first please?” “Come on buddy.” “How are you this morning?” “Good.” “OK. Come on in let’s pick a book”. “That Curious George, I think that book was a book when I was a little boy your age.” “Which one you think? Okay.” “Something was wrong. Two balloons had oft…” “Drifted.” Titus tries to get in a hurry you know and I have to kind of like slow him down and try to get him to you know just
pronounce everything correctly because he wants to just run through it too
quickly “Drifted.” “Off Course.” Joe is volunteering with Education
Connection, a literacy support program that recruits volunteers to help
children improve their literacy. I asked the Executive Director how Education Connections started. About ten years ago, some really amazing pastors within the community went to the education leaders as well as the city and said, “How can we best support our world and our community?” And a couple things came up literacy
support, dropout prevention and then prison ministry. And so the church, they’re like, well we can mobilize our congregation we can encourage them to volunteer So as a result of the pastor’s going to the city leaders and asking how they can help, Their are now over a hundred and twenty churches that have gotten involved. This year alone, more than 950 volunteers will read to over 2,100 students. “Olive.” “Olive jumped up to the” “fur.” “on her back.” He’s more of a slow methodical reader but he’s
excellent with math. Of course they have to go hand in hand so, if we can help him improve his reading to get to the level he is with the math, you know, we’re golden. “not knowing any better kept going.” “This doesn’t look to good.” “She shouldn’t have told him to go so fast and stop.” (laughing). I asked an instructional coach at the school about the impact that Joe’s having on the students I’ve seen some growth I mean with the consistency is what you want as
far as a reader coming in the volunteers coming in and each reader has two
readers and they do 15 minutes but Mr Bland he comes in early he might do 20
to 25 minutes with each kid because he feels like the more you read with a
child listen to their comprehension it’s
better. “They felt happy.” “They felt happy.” Some of these young kids they need a little extra, you know, just investment of time. That’s really what we’re doing. We’re spending a little
bit of extra time with these kids “Of the world.” “The End.” “Good job Christopher.? After the reading time, Joe and I headed
over to Ross’ Old Austin Cafe. We wanted to grab some breakfast and continue our conversation about how he sees God at work here in the city. But before we get there here’s a couple quick announcements. First of all, if you’re liking this vlog it would really help us if you’d leave a comment and subscribe to our channel And second, this video is made possible by our sponsor The Cajas Digital Agency They take small business marketing to the next level through customized strategies that increase the visibility of your brand through social media marketing We’re really grateful for their sponsorship Now let’s get back to the conversation. When you think about just the simple act of going and reading, where have you seen God at work in what you’ve done? You know He’s building up
the teachers, the students. He’s encouraging me. He’s encouraging the community at my workplace. So its, you know, that’s how I see him at work in this. Couldn’t someone just say well, you’re just being good like, anybody can go in and just read. Why do you see God in that? Well, because I feel like those
are the inherit traits that God puts in all of us. What are? Goodness. Willing to serve. Wanting to help others. It will change your entire life. Have you seen that in your own life? Oh yes, with out a doubt. Like in what way? I mean you’re a construction guy you build things you probably break a lot things sometimes. I don’t know why I’m so passionate about it. I don’t know why I enjoy it so much.
It’s fulfilling my god-given needs and and that in itself brings more
satisfaction than the material things in this world. You know everything that we
do in this world just goes and comes and it’s a short-lived a, you know, a nice
dinner, or a vacation you know those things are great but they’re not eternal and when you serve God you actually get to see a
little glimpse of heaven here on earth. You know it’s a, you know, to see, to see
the little guy like Chris light up, you know, his face lights up when he sees Man that’s uh, you why else do you Why else do you get up in the mornings you know I mean that’s that’s what and that’s how God’s that’s how he created us and that’s what we’re here to do. What have you been learning about God recently? I’ve been learning to trust him more with things such as my business. I had the hardest time for the longest time ever realizing that the King of the universe could run a construction company. I just thought I had to be there and when I kind of turned the controls over to him on Monday mornings when I serve and on
Tuesdays when I’m serving and and then during the during the week if there’s
opportunities. It’s amazing how the people that work for me all rally around
and say Mr Bland’s he’s reading this morning so we need to go ahead and
decide what they’re gonna do to get to work and they make decisions. They feel
empowered. And that’s all God’s work within our
workplace. Could you maybe speak a little bit to just the reality of the church and believers being in a position to take on a big issue like literacy. You know, there’s an estimated 6500 kids every school year that are not reading at grade level; first, second and third grade. What we need is we need the human capital that’s in the churches, spread throughout our city. And that’s going to change, that’s going to change our future in a very positive way because there’s a huge need for us to step into the space that he would have us step into. you

5 thoughts on ““The Weekly Reader” – Austin Vlog #002

  • May 16, 2018 at 6:58 pm

    Well done video. I really enjoy being a volunteer with Education Connection and this video embodies what it's all about.

  • May 16, 2018 at 7:24 pm

    This is an excellent piece about the value of the
    Reading Connection program.

    Marsha Goff

  • May 16, 2018 at 11:36 pm

    I love this video. Being an Education Connection volunteer this year has been very rewarding. Each week the students look forward to that time that they have with someone one on one.

  • May 16, 2018 at 11:43 pm

    Excellent video. Kudos to Joe for doing such a good job explaining the literacy partner process; keeping it simple; and giving the credit to God. As a military veteran, and a literacy partner myself, I understand what it means to serve others and really enjoy my reading time with the students as much as they do. I do it all to the glory of God.

  • May 19, 2018 at 9:50 pm

    Thanks so much for creating this video and highlighting Education Connection. I am honored to be a volunteer in this organization and you did a great job showing how God is working through this program to enrich young lives.


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