United Way seeking volunteers for Reading Day of Action

Published 8:59 am Thursday, February 6, 2014

This spring, volunteers with the United Way of Southwest Michigan will be taking time out to read to thousands of students during the organization’s annual Reading Day of Action.

While the event doesn’t take place until Tuesday, March 18, the United Way and primary event sponsor Honor Credit Union is in the process of gathering volunteers.

Doug Ferrall, of UWSM, said 154 volunteers read to more than 10,000 students in 346 classrooms throughout Berrien and Cass counties last year.

“We are trying to get out there and get our communities excited about reading,” Ferrall said. “Early literacy is one of the strongest indicators for success later in life. So this is an important event.”

When classrooms and volunteers sign up online they will be able to specify a time range they would like to participate. After that, United Way will coordinate via email. Volunteers will have a 20-minute appointment at each classroom. Though the United Way strongly encourages volunteers to bring books, they ask that classrooms have five or six books available just in case.

Volunteers can sign up at www.uwsm.org/reading. For more information, contact project coordinator Ferrall at douglas.ferrall@uwsm.org or (269) 982-1700 ext. 29.

“We have been overwhelmed by the willingness of the community to join us in the effort to show the importance reading has,” said United Way President Anna Murphy.

The event is for pre-school through fifth grade students in the counties of Berrien and Cass.

Classrooms must sign up in order to have a volunteer read to students.

The event coincides with March is Reading Month.

United Way is a global network that advances the common good, creating opportunities for a better life for all by focusing on the three key building blocks of education, income, health and basic needs. The United Way movement creates long lasting community change by addressing the underlying causes of problems that prevent progress in these areas.

Live United is a call to action for everyone to become a part of the change. For more information about United Way, please visit www.uwsm.org orwww.liveunited.org.