Press release from the United Way of Allen County:
250 More Literacy Volunteers Needed:
Learn United Goal is 1,000 Volunteers by the End of 2009
United Way’s Learn United initiative is looking for 250 more volunteers to work with elementary school children to improve their reading skills. To date, Learn United has recruited 750 local volunteers to work with children who struggle to read. Some of the volunteers work through existing programs like Study Connection and Project READS, while others volunteer to work with students in the classroom during the regular school day.
All kinds of volunteer opportunities are available. Learn United staff will work with individuals to find a schedule that works for them. Anyone interested in volunteering should call 260.469.4030 or visit www.LearnUnited.org to browse dozens of different opportunities.
“Our children need the support of everyone in the community to help them achieve success,” said Dr. Wendy Robinson, superintendent of Fort Wayne Community Schools. “While we work tirelessly in the schools, we can’t do it alone. The volunteers that come into our schools provide a tremendous service for our students in terms of providing new voices in encouraging them academically and serving as role models.”
“We have 122 classrooms in 14 schools that are participating in Learn United right now,” said Jerry Peterson, president and CEO of United Way of Allen County. “71 of our classrooms have volunteers; we really need to fill those remaining classrooms with volunteers who are excited about helping our children improve their literacy skills and therefore improve their chances of succeeding in school and life.”
Learn United volunteers go through a background check using a system that reviews more than 30 million criminal records nationwide and all 50 states’ sex offender registries. All Learn United volunteers are provided training in the foundations of literacy and gain simple skills to help children learn to read.
Learn United is a ten-year effort to ensure all Allen County students read at grade level by the end of third grade. More than 1,000 local third-graders do not pass the ISTEP reading test every year; studies show that 74 percent of children who fall behind by third grade never catch up and gain the reading skills needed to be successful.
Learn United is a collaborative partnership between United Way of Allen County, the Allen County Education Partnership, all four Allen County public school districts, The Greater Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce, the Fort Wayne Urban League and Study Connection. For more information visit, www.LearnUnited.org