If you could walk in my shoes

If you could walk in my shoes, you’d want to do something important. –Reader/Writer student

The Reader/Writer program is a volunteer opportunity developed by educator Lia Venchi to help struggling inner-city youth develop their communication skills.

Venchi, a retired Minneapolis Public Schools English teacher, says most students in the program, which pairs students one-on-one with a writing coach, are at least two years behind their grade level in reading and writing. Currently, the program is working with seventh- and eighth-grade students in three Minneapolis and St. Paul public schools.

With the belief that literacy is a pathway to opportunity, including a quality education, Venchi says “the mission of the Reader/Writer program is to boost the writing fluency and skills of adolescents.”

Students typically write an essay or personal narrative (such as, If you could walk in my shoes …), from one paragraph to a page or two in length depending on skill level. The volunteer writing coach then reads, edits, and provides comments on their student’s work.

“This is a great opportunity to support struggling writers and to connect with some of our most challenged youth in a meaningful way,” Venchi says.

If you are interested in becoming a Reader/Writer volunteer, please contact the University Retirees Volunteer Center at urvc.umn.edu or Lia Venchi at readerwriter.org.

—Deanne Magnusson, URVC vice chair and project director

Publication date: 
September 20, 2021
At A Glance
Tuesday, May 24, 2022

2022 Annual Meeting and Forum

Welcome back!

Campus Club, Fourth Floor
West Wing Dining Room
Coffman Memorial Union


10:45 a.m.

Check in


11:15 a.m.

Buffet lunch


Annual Meeting and Forum

Featured speaker
John Coleman, dean
College of Liberal Arts

Chicken in heirloom tomato sauce with roasted Yukon Gold potatoes and seasonal vegetables. GF.
For vegetarian/vegan option, please request when making your reservation.

RSVP by May 13

Prepayment of $25 per person.

Reserve and pay online or contact Diane Young at young054@umn.edu.

Cancellations and refunds will be honored until May 13. We are not able to accommodate registrations on the day of the event.

For a discount of $1 per hour in University parking facilities, use the QR code on the back of your UMRA membership card when exiting. Credit cards only.

UMRA policy requires all participants to be vaccinated. Masks are optional.

Make your reservation today!

Unable to attend in person? Please register and join UMRA’s 2022 Annual Meeting and Forum via Zoom.