250 more literacy volunteers needed

Learn United logo.  Courtesy image.

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

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  1. My wife and I are tutoring in Project Reads. We have long believed that our schools can’t improve without the active involvement of the community. The future of our kids and our community is at stake and if we don’t step up we have no one to blame for the fate of Fort Wayne except ourselves. In my opinion United Way has taken on the most important cause in our city and made it easy for us to get involved. So do something!

  2. If you want to do something that allows you to work with completely open minds – just wanting to learn so much that it can be seen on these fresh young faces – get involved in either Project Reads and/or the Learn United programs. I’m into my third year and enjoying it more every one of the three days per week that I get to work with third graders. John B. Kalb

  3. Thanks for all the great comments. Volunteers can register for any of these programs at the Learn United website. We’ve included after school programs like Study Connection and Project Reads, and over 500 volunteer opportunities in classrooms during the school day. We are also offering a 7 week opportunity to help with writing beginning in January. You can register for a specific opportunity or just register and a coordinator will contact you about finding the right fit for you.

    We’ve tried to make this as easy as possible. If you want to help close the reading gap, it’s all in one place for you. Learn United

    Thanks to everyone who has volunteered, let us know if you can help recruit others!


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