Volunteering in the ReadUP summer pilot program turned out to be a gift I gave myself this summer. I'm SO grateful I had the opportunity to tutor and get to know 11-year-old Ryan through ReadUP at Edna Martin Christian Center (EMCC). And it was fun to watch Ryan discover that reading is fun when you're reading about cool things...like the NBA play-offs, Michael Jackson and stinky plants.
Special thanks to United Way ReadUP coordinator Judith Rosario and reading specialist Tiffani Brown for quickly assessing Ryan's needs and magically producing books and magazines at his reading level that would interest him. Summer is short. There was no time to waste!
My visits to the community center were also a great reminder of the many ways United Way makes our community a better place. With support from United Way, the Summer Youth Program Fund and others, EMCC and many other community centers across the city keep kids safe, active, well-nourished, and LEARNING over the summer.
Research from Johns Hopkins University and others tells us that two-thirds of the achievement gap between low income children and their better off peers can be attributed to summer learning loss.
Summer offers not only an opportunity, but a responsibility to close this gap, and summer readUP is a great way to do that! Plus, it's really fun!
Diane Pfeiffer, readUP volunteer
Editor's note: United Way is now recruiting volunteers for the school year ReadUP experience along with mentoring opportunities and reading to young children. Go here to get involved yourself!