BEAR – Be A Reader

Click here to support BEAR

There is no better tool than a book. It can pry open the locks of poverty and hopelessness and make way for dreams to take hold.

-Marion Wright Edelman, Founder and President, Children’s Defense Fund

Research shows that up until third grade, children learn to read. Beginning BEAR2_Logoin fourth grade, children read to learn. If they have not yet mastered reading, they begin a downward spiral that is difficult to correct. If children receive even a small intervention by third grade, their chances increase dramatically.

The goal of the Marilyn and Marvin Simon Family Jewish Community Center’s Be a Reader (BEAR) program is to help at-risk children in Tidewater public school acquire the reading skills and love of learning that lead to personal happiness and success.

Volunteers read one-on-one with a child once a week at elementary schools in Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake and Portsmouth. The volunteers and children read aloud and work on spelling, vocabulary and classroom reading assignments.


Volunteer Opportunities

Join with other people in our community who are helping children learn to read and experiencing the rewards in making a difference in a child’s life. Most children will blossom with the individual attention of a caring adult. You can be that person.

  • Read with your BEAR child one hour a week
  • Receive training and help from our school BEAR captains

To sponsor this program or learn more about volunteer opportunities, please contact Wendy Weissman, at 757-965-6107.


We also would like to honor the following individuals who have generously made a donation to the BEAR program:

Helen and Warren Aleck

Marilyn Allison

Babbi and Brad Bangel

Genevieve Barnes

Frances Levy Birshtein

Lois and Barry Einhorn

Gail Flax

Lori and Michael Glasser

Ross Glasser

Shirley Hainer

Carol Hare

Marcia Hofheimer

Nancy Sacks Jacobson

Jean Jaffe

Reva Kelberg

Shirley Legum

Etta Lind

Vivian Margulies

Sandy and Albert Parsons

Robert Pekarsky

Nancy and Charles Rosenblatt

Carol B. Rosenblatt

Judith Rosenblatt

Mr. and Mrs. Michael Rashkind

Leona Roberts

Carol B. Rosenblatt

Judith Rosenblatt

Nancy and Marc Samuels

Lynn and Rachel Shoenbaum

Clara L. Stanley

Adele Stark

Lori and Scott Tabakin

Tammy Teer

Beth and Harlan Vingan

Princess Anne Women’s Club of Virginia Beach