United Way of Broward County held an appreciation breakfast on Thursday, May 28rd at the Hyatt Pier 66 in Fort Lauderdale, FL, to thank the hundreds of volunteers who helped make the third year of the ReadingPals program such a tremendous success. During the past school year, these volunteers cumulatively contributed more than 4,900 hours to the ReadingPals program and helped more than 300 students across Broward County.
ReadingPals connects volunteer tutors with students Pre-K through 3rd grade to generate a lifetime love of the written word and to improve reading and comprehension skills to ensure children are reading at grade level by the end of 3rd grade. The program requires that volunteers dedicate one hour per week for 25 weeks to read to an individual student or in a small group.
ReadingPals experienced tremendous growth and success in 2014-15 as evidenced by the statistics below:
- United Way of Broward County has taken the lead amongst 10 United Ways in Florida by having the largest number of volunteers at 275.
- United Way of Broward County gave away over 12,500 books for students to take home.
- The number of locations with ReadingPals grew from three in 2012 to 12 in 2013 and 19 in 2014. The program will to expand to 20 locations in 2015-16.
- First grade students participating in ReadingPals experienced a 260% increase in reading proficiency over the 2013-2014 school year compared to a 54% average increase in reading proficiency for all first grade students in Broward County. (numbers are based on the 2013-2014 school year)
- 90% of Pre-K students participating in ReadingPals achieved an increase in their Pre-K assessment results during the 2013/14 school year (numbers are based on the 2013-2014 school year)
During the breakfast, Kathleen Cannon, President & CEO of United Way of Broward County, thanked the volunteers for their hard work and dedication to building a better Broward County. Robert Runcie, Superintendent of Broward County Schools, thanked the volunteers for staying committed to the youth of Broward County. Author Ty Allen also spoke on the importance of early childhood literacy.
“The third year of ReadingPals has exceeded our expectations, and we are so proud to have such dedicated volunteers who truly want to make an impact on the youth of Broward County,” said Kathleen Cannon, President & CEO of United Way of Broward County. “ReadingPals would not have been able to touch so many young lives without the efforts of our volunteers and this breakfast was a small way to show our deep appreciation to them. “
ReadingPals community partners include Children’s Movement of Florida, Broward County Public Schools, Broward County Public Schools Youth Mentoring Program, A.D. Henderson Foundation and Carol and Barney Barnett.
United Way of Broward County is currently seeking volunteers for the 2015-2016 school year. To become a volunteer, please contact Adriana LeCorgne at 954-453-3742 or readingpals@UnitedWayBroward.org.