United Way has partnered with the Corporation for National and Community Service to bring the talent and commitment of AmeriCorps VISTAs to United Way to help students across the country succeed in low-performing schools. Here’s the first of many updates about their great work.
Summer Learning Day and United Way Day of Action, held annually on June 21, provided the perfect opportunity for the VISTAs to shine and help students avoid the “summer slide,” which is when lower-income children tend to lose ground in their learning. United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut VISTA Nichole Mayweather helped more than 1,000 students and their families enjoy literacy-related activities such as: a Family Book Festival, where children participated in fun literacy-related crafts, received books and could sign a Summer Reading Pledge.
Heart of Florida United Way VISTA Thanh Nguyen also led project focused on preventing summer reading loss. United Way collected more than 10,000 new and gently used books through a community wide book drive, and about 300 volunteers participated in dozens of projects at schools and partner agencies and distributed the books. For example, “Scooping Up Reading” volunteers helped students with their writing, speech, and comprehensions skills while making ice cream sundaes. Students wrote their own recipes, created a label and presented their ice cream “flavor” to the class.
To promote reading skills for children in preschool to 4th grade, United Way of Greater Atlanta VISTA Rudie Denson, assisted by two graduating seniors of local high school girls basketball teams, led a “Literacy Field Day” where children and families participated in learning activities, games, and storytelling. Children also received a literacy kit which includes school registration information and books donated by the Mayor of Atlanta and Bright from the Start.
United Way Suncoast, United Way Silicon Valley, United Way Story County, Metro United Way, United Way of the Mid-South, United Way of Central Georgia, and United Way of Greater Atlanta also have VISTAs on board to address school readiness, summer learning or chronic absence from school. Check back soon for more news about how these inspiring young people are advancing the common good by improving education in our communities.