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Suquamish hopes to keep up ROAR program

SUQUAMISH — The thriving Suquamish reading programs will continue next year, but so will the search for funding.

Reading Offers Amazing Rewards (ROAR), which pays high school and college students money for their own educations to tutor students in reading and math, is running low on the funds that started the program, Coordinator Lisa Heaman said.

ROAR was started two years ago with a descending grant from the Discuren Charitable Foundation. The grant was intended as seed money to help the program get off the ground and it’s been successful, Heaman added. So far, the program has enough funds to pay as many as 17 tutors.

But there’s no money to pay the coordinators — Heaman and Chris Raffa, who coordinates the reading program outside of ROAR.

Raffa is in charge of connecting the school to local businesses, community groups and individuals. She also helps coordinate non-student tutors who are not paid but volunteer to read to or aid students.

Heaman said that if she remains in the North Kitsap area, she will continue to coordinate the program for free. But she said she would prefer to find more money to add to the remaining Discuren Foundation funds and the $2,000 given to the school recently by the Suquamish Tribe.

The Discuren Foundation has encouraged the school to apply for the grant again, Heaman said.

Suquamish Principal Joe Davalos said the reading programs truly benefit the school’s students.

“Not only does it help kids read better and build good reading skills, it establishes positive relationships rather than the usual peer group,” Davalos said. “It’s been a great program for us.”

The program originally began to help tutor readers, but now includes some students who need help with mathematics.

Anyone interested in contributing to the program may call the school at (360) 598-4219.

Those interested can help in several ways; they can donate money to keep the program thriving, or volunteer themselves.

“We’ll take people as well as donations,” Heaman said.

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