Shirley Browder initiated and coordinates the successful Early ID Program at Turie T. Small Elementary School. There, 70% of the students entering Kindergarten have weaknesses in fine motor, visual perception and basic language capacities. Through the use of community volunteers that are trained by Browder, the students are screened and individual interventions are planned for the students. During the past three years, volunteers have worked individually with children three to five times per week in 30-minute sessions to help prepare them for the first grade.
Browder was instrumental in the development of Word Wizards. This is a volunteer program where students from Embry Riddle and Bethune Cookman tutor students in reading and math four days a week. This particular program is an ongoing partnership between these colleges and the City of Daytona Beach’s after-school program and has affected hundreds of students over the past five years.
Browder has had a phenomenal effect on the city of Daytona Beach. At Turie T. Small, children with some difficulty in a particular area are identified early. They then receive one-on-one tutoring and an individualized plan. Consequently, these children enter first grade better prepared. The children that participate in Word Wizards also benefit from individualized attention. Their tutors assist them with study skills, reading and math. In recruiting and coordinating hundreds of volunteers and arranging partnerships with the city and colleges, Browder has helped to bind the school and community together. Opportunities are now provided for everyone to be accountable for the education of the community’s children.
The two programs that Browder developed have remained constants in the community. Her volunteers say that she does not merely develop a program and place volunteers. Browder is aware of the needs of the children and cultivates something that suits them while also acquiring the volunteers who will be a “perfect fit” for the program and the children involved.
She has used her organizational and social skills to conceive, initiate and coordinate outstanding and successful programs that have contributed to the well being of hundreds of students. Her vision is of the big picture, and she trains experienced volunteers to coordinate existing programs so she can put her efforts on new initiatives. She has spent her life serving her community. Initially, she gave of herself as an educator; now, after retirement, she is an educator still, but in the capacity of a volunteer.
Volusia County Schools named Browder their 1999-2000 Senior Volunteer of the Year. She was honored by the Florida Department of Education as the Florida Outstanding School Volunteer. She was given the Good Hands Florida Volunteer of the Year Award for a healthy start from the Florida Commission on Community Service and Allstate Insurance Company. Browder was recognized as the 2000 Honorable Mention Education Volunteer by the JCPenney Golden Rule Awards Program and a Volunteer Center of Volusia-Flagler County Award.