Old Greenwich School is poised to become United Way’s the next Reading Champions location. The program trains local volunteers to tutor children in Greenwich Schools, as well as after school programs at Byram Archibald Neighborhood Center, Community Centers, Inc., the Boys and Girls Club of Greenwich and the YWCA of Greenwich.
On Monday, Kaitlin DeBellis joined Principal, Patricia Raneri, United Way Board Chair, Karen Keegan, Reading Champions Co-founder, Joan Lowe and First Selectman, Peter Tesei at a ribbon cutting ceremony at Old Greenwich School. Afterward, there was coffee and cookies for guests, and student representatives – Emma Gustasffson, Arjun Kishore, Gus Wnek, Grace Darnow, Charlie Palmqvist and CJ Weigel – took visitors on a tour of the school.
Through Reading Champions, tutors work with over 400 Greenwich children annually.
“Today is an important date that people of Greenwich and Connecticut will never forget,” said Karen Keegan, United Way Board Chair, referring to the third anniversary of the Sandy Hook School shootings in Newtown.
“The Greenwich United Way is dedicated to addressing needs and problems that are bigger than any one school or agency can solve,” Keegan said. “We’re grateful for this opportunity to address the achievement gap in our community.”
Joan Lowe, recipient of the 2015 YWCA Spirit Award and 2005 Distinguished Teacher Award from Greenwich Schools described Reading Champions as an after-school program with substance. “This system is designed to build confidence and we see an incredible impact with our kids, the connection is powerful,” Lowe said.
Lowe said that over 90% of students graduate from the program during their first year and maintain their proficiency level as they continue to move through elementary school.