United Way Literacy Awards

Learn United logo.  Courtesy image.

Press release from the United Way of Allen County:

United Way of Allen County recently honored nine Literacy Champions (nicknamed the Readies) for their work with Learn United. Learn United is a ten-year effort to ensure all Allen County students read at grade level by the end of third grade. It involves volunteering to help students who struggle with reading.

The following individuals or organizations received awards:

  1. Hy Plimpton is a literacy champion because of his dedication to Real Men Read, his work as a classroom volunteer and his efforts to recruit more volunteers to work at Southwick Elementary.
  2. Judy Lindsay is a literacy champion for her work as a classroom volunteer, summer school volunteer and her efforts to recruit more volunteers.
  3. County Commissioner Bill Brown is a literacy champion for his work to promote the Real Men Read effort and United Way’s literacy initiatives.
  4. The Fort Wayne Urban League is a literacy champion because of its work to coordinate Real Men Read and its collaboration on many literacy programs, such as Read and Rise, Ready to Learn/Ready Schools and Rally to Read.
  5. The Allen County Prosecutor’s Office is a literacy champion because many of its employees volunteer for Real Men Read, summer school or as breakfast readers.
  6. Coca-Cola is honored as a literacy champion for its work with Real Men Read, Lunch Buddies and Study Connection and for the company’s efforts to partner with Waynedale Elementary.
  7. Raytheon is a literacy champion because the company has recruited many volunteers for Real Men Read and Study Connection.
  8. Target is a literacy champion because many of its employees volunteered to help students attending summer school.
  9. Do it Best Corp. is a literacy champion because of its ongoing work to support children through United Way, The Women’s Initiative, book drives, Study Connection and Real Men Read.

To date, Learn United has recruited 750 local volunteers to work with children who struggle to read. 122 classrooms in 14 schools in all four local school districts are participating. 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, including short-term options and longer-term options that can be shared with another volunteer. Learn United staff will work with individuals to find a schedule that works for them. Anyone interested in volunteering should call 469-4030 or visit www.LearnUnited.org to browse dozens of different opportunities.

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 collaborative partnership between United Way of Allen County, the Allen County Education Partnership, all four Allen County public school districts, and The Greater Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce. 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. For more information visit www.LearnUnited.org or call 469-4030.

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