Become a Power Lunch Reading Mentor

Help make a difference in a student’s life by volunteering as a Power Lunch mentor!

During the 2018-2019 school year, EWDC partnered with over 600 volunteers to bring shared reading to students at 12 public elementary schools in the District of Columbia and Virginia. Not only did these 600 mentors make a difference in their students’ lives, but they got something valuable in return.

Time and time again we hear from our mentors that Power Lunch reading sessions are the best part of their work week and they get just as much out of the experience as their students.  

But even with these amazing 600 mentors, there was still a waitlist of students at all our schools – students that wanted to join Power Lunch but couldn’t because we didn’t have enough mentors to meet student demand. That’s why we need you to become a mentor today!  


Here’s what some of our 2018-2019 Power Lunch mentors said about their year:  

Being a power lunch mentor is pure joy. I've been able to share my love of reading with another person, as well as see that person develop as a student and explore the world around them. It also gives me a greater sense of purpose. Not to mention a great way to get out of the office and refocus. 

I love the idea that I might be inspiring a child to love books, which is something I wish I had had as a child. Additionally, it is a great break from work - I sometimes get to [my school] a little overwhelmed from work, but I always leave feeling great. 

FAQs About Power Lunch

  • How much of a time commitment is Power Lunch?

    Less than 30 hours a year! And if you work with a partner, it’s just 15 hours of reading

    The Power Lunch program usually kicks off in late September and runs through the end of May. Reading sessions take place once a week during the student’s lunch and recess period. If school is closed, then reading sessions are cancelled. So mentors that start at the beginning of the program year will volunteer for approximately 30 hours. But since we bring new mentors on all the way through March, the actual time commitment depends on a volunteer’s individual start date.

  • I’m a new mentor and I don’t know which school to volunteer at?

    You get to decide! Power Lunch currently serves students at 11 schools in the District and Arlington, VA, each of which has a waiting list and needs additional mentors. Take a look at our list of schools and see which location works best for you. That being said, many of our mentors come to us as part of an employer-based volunteer program that has selected to work with a particular school. If this applies to you, then you can select the school your organization has decided to support.

  • What time does the Power Lunch reading session take place? What days?

    Power Lunch reading sessions are held during the student’s lunch and recess period. The actual timing varies depending on the school and on the student’s grade. Generally speaking, most reading sessions will take place between 11:00am and 1:00pm

    Generally Most of our Power Lunch schools hold reading sessions 5 days a week. At the moment, the only exceptions are:

    Amidon-Bowen: Reading sessions on Monday, Wednesday and Friday

    Savoy: Reading sessions on Tuesday and Thursday.

    Updated information about session days and times for the 2019-2020 program year will be available during the summer.

  • What if I select certain days I think I am available and then my schedule changes? Or what if I can’t come on my regular day?

    We understand that things change. That’s why our Power Lunch program team will reach out to make sure a specific day and time works for you before being matched with a student. They will also be available if you need to cancel a regular reading day or look to reschedule for a different day during that same week.

  • What if I don’t think I can commit to reading every week?

    If you don’t think you can commit to a regular weekly session, you can sign up with a partner alternate reading sessions. For many this means shared reading responsibilities with a co-worker. If you don’t have a co-worker that can serve as a partner, we can help find one for you!

  • What if I want to mentor at a DCPS school but I don’t have my DCPS Volunteer Clearance?

    That’s okay! You can absolutely apply to the Power Lunch program before you get your DCPS clearance. We will follow up after your application is submitted to assist you in obtaining the necessary clearance so that you can start reading with a DCPS student. You can learn more about the DCPS clearance process below. Reminder – you do not need a DCPS Clearance if you plan to volunteer at Key Elementary school in Arlington, VA.

  • I have a DCPS Clearance but it will expire during the 2019-2020 school year. Can I still serve as a Power Lunch mentor?

    Yes! So long as you have a valid clearance you can start reading with a student. We will work with you to renew your clearance during the school year so that you don’t have a break in your volunteer service.

Mentor Clearance

  • About mentor clearance

    To serve as a Power Lunch Reading Mentor, you will need to complete the required Volunteer Clearance process for your preferred school.

  • Arlington Public schools Clearance

    If you plan to read at Key Elementary School in Arlington, you must submit an APS Volunteer Clearance Application. 

    Click HERE to access the APS Volunteer Clearance Application in English.

    Click HERE to access the APS Volunteer Clearance Application in Spanish.

  • District of Columbia public schools Clearance

    If you plan to read at a DCPS school, there are three things you need to do. Don’t worry, we can help with all of these!

  • 1 Submit the DCPS Clearance Application: Click HERE to access the DCPS Volunteer Application. If you need more information, here is a link to general info about volunteering in DCPS:
  • 2 Take a TB test. DCPS requires proof of a negative TB test from within the 12 months before you undergo fingerprinting (see below). If you need to be tested, EWDC offers free TB Clinics for new Reading Mentors. You can also get the test done at your doctor’s office or at certain pharmacies.
  • 3 Get fingerprinted by DCPS. Once you have your negative TB test result, you must be fingerprinted by DCPS. EWDC hosts DCPS Fingerprinting Clinics throughout the District or you can go to the Fingerprinting Office at DCPS Central Office (1200 First Street NE, 10th Floor), Monday through Thursday from 8 am to 5 pm and Fridays from 8 AM - 3 PM.