In 1994, Monica Ponoroff established the For The Children reading program at James Lewis Elementary School in New Orleans. The program began as one-on-one tutoring sessions in reading. Shortly thereafter, she sought to expand the program and actively recruited more than 100 volunteers from the community and extended the program to 20 weeks. Currently, the program, which has relocated to Lafayette School, has approximately fifty volunteers and runs for 22 weeks.
Volunteers spend the first 10 weeks of the program reading to four children on a one-on-one basis, for one hour a week. During the next two weeks, the tables are turned, and the volunteers listen as the children read to them. Volunteers, who range in age from their late teens to late forties, represent churches, civic organizations, colleges and the local government.
As a major supporter of the program, Tulane University not only provides volunteers, but also provides free copying services. Volunteers donate more than time; some also donate books or money to the school. One volunteer, David Sheinbein, former senior class president of the student senate at Tulane University, took forty kids to a university football game.