United Way


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We believe a quality education leads to a successful future, access to good jobs and other opportunities. 

ee reading Children who are not reading at the appropriate level by 4th grade are less likely to advance their education beyond high school and are more likely to drop out of school all together.  United Way of Jackson County’s Energizing Education pairs reading mentors with elementary students who have fallen behind in their reading skills.  The program also provides resources for parents to encourage reading at home.  Last year, 142 students across 5 Jackson County schools were involved with Energizing Education.  Jalen’s success story is just one of many.

Jalen and his mentor worked diligently twice a week for two years.  It was hard work, but Jalen was improving and becoming the student his teachers and his mentor knew he could be.  In the beginning Jalen struggled, even with simple books.  His frustration led him to lose interest in his lessons and be disruptive in class.  To keep him from falling behind, Jalen’s teacher at Frost Elementary recommended him for United Way’s Energizing Education.  Soon Jalen was paired with a reading mentor twice a week.  Jalen’s mentor would help him sound out words, sometimes taking several minutes on one word until he got it right.  They would talk about the books they were reading. Jalen began to understand and retain what he was doing.  Energizing Education Family Nights helped Jalen engage with reading at home.  As Jalen read more, he began to feel better about school.  He looked forward to his time with his mentor.  He began to set goals for himself, confidently telling his mentor he would get to the next level of reading books by next week.  After nearly two years in Energizing Education, Jalen was reading at the level he needed to be and tested out of the program.  Jalen is now a 4th grader at Frost and a member of the LEAP program for students who excel academically and emotionally

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