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The Scoop

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Verbatim: Volunteers needed for reading initiative

Statement issued Wednesday:

Fort Wayne Community Schools Superintendent Wendy Robinson and East Allen County Schools Superintendent Karyle Green are calling on the community to volunteer and help elementary students improve their reading skills. FWCS and EACS have hundreds of children who could benefit from extra attention from a caring adult, as provided through United Way’s Learn United initiative.

“Ensuring the success of all students is an issue greater than any one school system,” Dr. Robinson said. “We rely on the support of the community to stand behind our schools and be involved in a way that makes a difference in the lives of children. Coming into our schools, reading to students, serving as mentors and showing the children that somebody cares about their success is more powerful than most people know.”

“Over the years, United Way volunteers have provided a most valuable service to our young people, said Dr. Green. “With the efforts of these caring, compassionate people, many children receive support in ways we can’t imagine: educationally, socially, emotionally. Please take the time to learn what your efforts can mean to one child as you volunteer with United Way.”

United Way’s Learn United initiative is looking for hundreds of volunteers to work one-on-one or with small groups of children grades K-3 in 15 Learn United schools, which are listed below. The children are identified by their teachers as those who would most benefit from individual attention.

“If you like to read and enjoy working with children, you’d be a great volunteer,” said Lanah Hake, director of education initiatives for United Way of Allen County. “It’s easier than you might think; volunteering simply involves reading with children, asking them questions and providing encouragement. Plus, all volunteers get a short training session to help prepare them for the classroom.”

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.

All Learn United volunteers go through a background check and are provided training in the foundations of literacy in order to gain simple skills that help children learn to read.

Learn United is a 10-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, and The Greater Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce. For more information visit, www.LearnUnited.org.

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