Greenwich United Way’s Reading Champions are Back in Person and Looking for Volunteers

Greenwich United Way’s Reading Champions volunteers are back to working with students in Greenwich grade schools in school following a two-year hiatus.

With a long waiting list of students who would benefit from the in-school, one-on-one literacy support, Greenwich United Way is looking for more volunteer candidates interested in helping improve reading fluency among elementary students.

Joan Lowe, a retired Greenwich Public School teacher and guidance counselor, founded Reading Champions in 2008. Photo: Leslie Yager

“The Greenwich United Way is such an amazing community partner for Greenwich Public Schools and our students,” said Dr. Toni Jones, Superintendent for Greenwich Public Schools. “For more than a decade, the organization’s Reading Champions Program has impacted the lives of so many with fantastic academic achievements and critical social interactions. We have all been living through challenging times for the past two years, and while the technology aspect of learning has increased, the return to in-person tutoring will have a life-long positive effect on each life they touch.”

“Many of our former Reading Champions volunteers have, understandably, not come back to in-person tutoring. At the same time, our students need the in-school literacy support more than ever,” said David Rabin, CEO of the Greenwich United Way. “For those in Greenwich looking to give of their time and talent for worthy causes, Reading Champions provides rewarding, fulfilling work that directly impacts students’ long-term academic potential.”

Reading Champions thoroughly vets all candidates and provides them with the necessary skills and preparation to provide dedicated reading support, fostering literacy skills and a love of learning in students. Interested volunteers can contact Greenwich United Way program coordinator Cecile Meunier at [email protected] or 203-869-2221.

In a typical school year, Reading Champions provides more than 15,000 moments of direct impact between volunteer tutors and elementary students. The results are far reaching, including motivating greater reading fluency and inspiring academic confidence to ultimately impact greater student success in the classroom for years to come.

The program was founded in 2008 by retired Greenwich Public School teacher and guidance counselor Joan Lowe, who recognized the need for one-on-one literacy programs. With the support of the Greenwich United Way, Lowe developed the program that enables volunteers to teach students how to read and comprehend in ways best suited to their learning styles. Since then, Reading Champions has provided one-on-one and small group reading instruction and tutoring to thousands of Greenwich Public School elementary students at 11 schools and various after-school programs in town.