A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

One to One: Barry Harasan coaches 9th District students on lunch break and makes a difference

“One person can make a big difference.”

Barry Harasan is the financial manager for TANK, but on his lunch break he is a One to One reading coach. Barry volunteers at 9th District Elementary School once a week for 35 minutes. Barry chose this school because it is located close to his work and he can easily volunteer during his lunch hour. He works with one second grade for the year.

Barry heard about the One to One opportunity five years ago, during a TANK meeting. Two representatives came into his meeting and discussed the One to One program. When asked, who would like to volunteer Barry said his hand shot straight up; he saw this as an opportunity to give back to the community.

“You always see things on TV about giving back. This was my opportunity to do that,” Barry said.

One to One coaching is a program of the Northern Kentucky Education Council which provides training and works with local schools to place coaches with students who need a little extra help.

Barry spoke about how exciting it is to see the progress being made before his eyes.

“You don’t have to look at test scores or wait for results to come in, you can see the progress being made right in front of you,” Barry said, “Over time they get hooked on reading and start to really like it.”

Barry Harsaran

He also spoke about how over the course of the year the students begin to really enjoy reading. Barry encourages the students to read at home as well. He tries to make the reading experience as enjoyable as possible for the students by using books for the child that are about their interests/hobbies. When the students connect with and enjoy what they are reading, they become more excited about reading.

Barry spoke about an experience he had with the most recent student he worked with. He said she was reading a book and started to get stuck on several words. When she got to the difficult words, Barry began to help her. She told him she wanted to try to get the words on her own without his help, which was very encouraging to him. It showed him she wanted to improve and really was interested in doing so.

Barry’s advice for anyone interested in getting involved with One to One is “Just get started! You will enjoy it. It’s only 35 minutes per week and you can make a huge difference in a child’s life.”

He shared that it’s not only rewarding for the student.

“It’s personally rewarding for me as well. To see the student run at you, so happy to see you really puts you in a better mood.”

Barry is very thankful he works for a company like TANK that encourages and allows their employees to give back to the community. If it wasn’t for their support, Barry might not be able to find time to volunteer. TANK is very supportive of Barry’s One to One coaching.

Registration is open for the One to One: Practicing Reading and Math with Students program. For more information or to sign up for one of our trainings, please visit the website or contact Leslie Armstrong at (859) 282-9214.

This story is part of a series on One to One coaching in cooperation with the Northern Kentucky Education Council.

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