Book Buddy

Book Buddy logo.pngChildren who start behind in kindergarten often stay behind in school. As a Book Buddy volunteer, you can help shape the future for children by preparing them for a successful start in kindergarten. Each week volunteers are paired with one or two students to read the selected book and review curriculum questions for 15 minutes and then repeat the activity with another student.

Even with prep time, the opportunity only requires 40 minutes. Reading begins mid-October and continues through April - a total of 24 weeks with breaks scheduled around holidays and spring break. Invite a friend or colleague to alternate a weekly shift! 

Opportunities are weekday mornings from 9:20 to 10:00 am. Choose the day and location that works best for you:

  • Bidwell Riverside Child Dev. Center
    1203 Hartford Ave
    Tuesday or Friday

  • Capitol Park
    800 E 12th Street
    Wednesday or Friday

  • CFI Child Development Center
    801 Forest Ave
    Tuesday or Thursday

  • Conmigo
    828 Scott Avenue
    Wednesday or Thursday

  • House of Mercy
    1409 Clark St.
    Tuesday or Friday

  • Oak Academy
    1401 Center Street
    Tuesday or Thursday

  • Perry Child Development Center
    920 18th St. (not pictured on map)
    Perry, Iowa 50220
    Tuesday or Thursday

  • West Des Moines Child Care Center
    1721 25th St. Ste. 200
    West Des Moines, IA 50266

    Tuesday or Thursday

  • Wonder Years Academy
    3838 MLK Parkway
    Tuesday or Wednesday

Program results are compelling – three years after reading with a mentor, 10% more students are reading proficiently than their peers not Book Buddy. Even more convincing are the bright smiles and growing confidence of Book Buddy students!
Join our team of readers or contact Rachel to learn more at or (515) 554-1417. Process includes a one-hour training and background check.

Book Buddy wouldn't exist without the support of Women United.

Sign up for Book Buddy!

Stuff The Bus

Stuff the Bus logo - final-1

According to early literacy research, within the U.S., access to books is essential to reading development: the only variable that directly correlates with reading scores is the number of books in the home.

However, most recent data describes a profound, even shocking gap: while the ratio of books to children in middle-income neighborhoods is approximately 13 books to 1 child, the ratio in low-income neighborhoods is 1 book to 300 children. Additionally, more than 80 percent of childcare centers serving low-income children lack age-appropriate books.


Women United Early Learning Centers

All Star Day Care
1922 SW 1st St
Des Moines, IA  50315
(515) 282-6516
Karen Newcomb

Altoona 8th Street Child Care
907 8th Street
Altoona, IA 50009
(515) 967-5363
Kelly Ethell

Bear Basics
135 Douglas Avenue
Des Moines, Iowa 50310
(515) 282-1729  ext 210, 221
Betty Bolin

CFI Child Development Center
801 Forest Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50314
(515) 282-2193
Justine Green

610 Center Street
Des Moines, IA 50309
Jamie VanSickle


 Color My World
2900 Easter Lake Dr
Des Moines, IA 50320
(515) 256-7797
Peggy White

Conmigo Early Education Ctr.
Hispanic Educational Resources
828 Scott Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50309
(515) 282-6542
Gabriela Gallentine

Grandview II
3004 E 38th Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50317
(515) 266-3569
Sara Isaacson

House of Mercy**
1409 Clark Street
Des Moines, IA  50314598
(515) 643-6545
Andy Smith

Perry Child Development Center
920 18th Street
Perry, IA 50220
Laurie Wernli

Perry Child Development Center
920 18th Street
Perry, IA 50220
Laurie Wernli

Oak Academy
1236 Oakridge Drive
Des Moines, IA 50314
(515) 244-7702
Vickie Williams

The Learning Loft
2011 100th Street
Clive, IA 50325
(515) 447-8097
Erin Davis

Teddy Bear Town
1800 Grand Ave
Des Moines, Ia 50309
(515) 242-7577
Casey Kelley

West Des Moines Child Care Academy
1721 25th Street, Suite 200
West Des Moines, IA 50266
(515) 225-6115
Reshea Moore

Wonder Years Academy
3838 M.L. King Jr Parkway
Des Moines, Iowa 50310
(515) 255-6184
Laura Trainer

** Accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). NAEYC sets professional standards for early childhood education, and to help families identify high-quality child care and early education programs. To earn NAEYC's accreditation, a program conducts a self-study to determine how well it meets the standards. After necessary improvements are made, the program is observed by professional validators and then reviewed by a national panel. Programs are accredited by NAEYC for a five-year period.


Women United Funded Programs by Strategy

women united investmentsStrategy 1.1: Provide access to preventive health services that foster positive & mental health development

  • Smile Squad
  • Licensed Social Worker
  • First Five/Developmental Screening
  • Connections in Primary Care

Strategy 1.2: Strengthen parenting skills & resources to promote early learning and interaction at home

  • Literacy Specialist
  • Literacy Support
  • Play & Learn

Strategy 1.3: Expand access to & improve the quality of early care & education environments for at-risk children

  • Early Childhood Consultants
  • Teddy Bear Town
  • Quality Early Learning Centers (6)
  • Reach of the Stars (Warren & Dallas; CCR&R)
  • Early Childhood Quality Initiative
  • Child Care Nurse Consultants
  • Quality Rating System (QRS) Actions Plans
  • Dallas County Gap Funding (CCNC)
  • Scholarships

Strategy 1.4: Improve quality of training & professional development for early care & education providers

  • TEACH Scholarships
  • Refugee Child Care Providers
  • Training & Development
  • WAGE$

Strategy 1.5: Increase availability & utilization of quality preschool for at-risk children

  • Book Buddies
  • Reach Out & Read