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Real men read: Head Start program recruits male mentors for reading program at 16 centers

Harris County Department of Education Head Start launches SuperMENtors Read                                                                    

Harris County Department of Education initiates “SuperMENtors Read” at all its 16 Head Start centers throughout Harris County in the upcoming 2013-2014 school year.

Volunteers may come from all professions—from fathers to businessmen to educators to tradesmen.

Mentors attend a brief orientation and then read and discuss assigned books with Head Start students ages 3-5. Some 70 men are needed to serve as SuperMENtors once a month, beginning in October through May 2014.

“No experience is necessary with our SuperMENtors reading program,” said HCDE Head Start Director Venetia Peacock. “Our children benefit greatly when male role models read, which helps our students develop a love of reading and literacy,” she said.

San Jacinto College North Vice President Richard Bailey volunteered to read this year as the program was piloted. All three of his sons attended Head Start, and he recalls many positive experiences with Head Start.

As a SuperMENtor volunteer, Bailey labels the experience one of the most rewarding things he has done.

Bailey was convalescing from open heart surgery with a triple bypass operation as he started volunteering to read this school year.   He believes volunteering with the program helped his physical and emotional rehabilitation.

“You’re going to receive benefits far beyond the service you provide,” he said.  “There is such a good feeling giving back to the community.”

The program is built on four principles:  1) Reading is fun; 2) joint reading positively impacts a child learning to read; 3) literacy knowledge and skills lay the foundation for reading and writing; and 4) community engagement matters.

“Literacy is a vital indicator of a child’s success thoughout school, and this program supports Head Start’s readiness goals for its students,” said Peacock.

All HCDE Head Start centers are included in the program.  Centers are located in northeast Harris County and in suburbs including Channelview, Baytown, Humble, Galena Park and inner-city neighborhoods of northeast Houston, including Fifth Ward and Barrett Station.

To become a SuperMENtor volunteer, call (713) 696-2179 or email   . Go to to learn more.

Photo cutline:  SuperMENtor Dr. Richard Bailey, San Jacinto North vice president, reads to Harris County Department of Education Head Start students.


About Harris County Department of Education’s Head Start Area I: Harris County Department of Education Head Start Area I serves families residing in east and northeast Harris County, providing 16 area centers for over 1,250 children and their families. Head Start is a federally funded program that prepares children ages 3-5 for school. It also supports and promotes strong families through parent participation and training. Low-income families and families of children with special needs benefit from services. For more information, call (713) 672-9343,


About HCDE: Harris County Department of Education provides education services to the general public and 26 school districts throughout Harris County and beyond. Services include adult education, programs to promote safe schools, after-school programs, therapy services, professional development for educators, special schools, alternative certification for principals and teachers, Head Start, and Early Childhood Intervention programs.  We offer contract procurement, grant development, program research and evaluation, records management, and school finance support.  Since 1889, our services continue to evolve to meet the needs of our education public. Visit us at


Carol E. Vaughn, Communications/Media Relations Manager

Harris County Department of Education

6300 Irvington Blvd., Houston TX 77022

713-696-0756 office, 281-660-9205 cell

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