For Immediate Release
United Way of Central Maryland and Notre Dame of Maryland University Volunteers Help Prevent “Summer Slide” for Head Start Children
Summer reading book bags donated and packed for 3,600 low-income children
Baltimore, MD (April 7, 2013) – Today, approximately 150 volunteers convened at Notre Dame of Maryland University (NDMU) to pack summer reading bags for Baltimore City Head Start students in partnership with United Way of Central Maryland (UWCM) and its READ LEARN SUCCEED effort.
Volunteers packed 3,600 tote bags with literacy-building items such as new reading books, coloring books, crayons and more to be distributed by NDMU students to Baltimore City Head Start children in May. Fundraising for and coordination of the day was provided by UWCM and NDMU.
Research from the National Summer Learning Association shows that children who do not practice their literacy skills throughout the summer are at risk of losing 22 percent of the knowledge gained throughout the school year—the equivalent of two months worth of learning—during summer break. This issue is commonly known as “summer slide.” The research also shows that students of low-income families are more likely to experience summer slide and its cumulative effects year-after-year.
United Way of Central Maryland’s work focuses on bringing financial stability, good health and self-sufficiency to central Marylanders facing poverty. In late 2012, it launched READ LEARN SUCCEED, an effort to recruit volunteers to read aloud to local low-income children younger than fourth grade, thereby increasing their chances of living successful, self-sufficient lives as adults.
“Head Start is pivotal to low-income children and their families, helping lay the foundation of their academic success. These reading bags will help all of Baltimore City’s Head Start children avoid learning loss during the summer,” said Mark Furst, president and CEO of UWCM. “Literacy and a strong education are important steps to self-sufficiency.”
“As the state’s largest private provider of teachers, we at Notre Dame understand the importance of early education to prepare lifelong learners and developing reading skills,” said Dr. James F. Conneely, president of Notre Dame. “We know that during summer vacation children’s reading skills falter, and the impact is especially pronounced for low-income students who may not have sufficient reading resources at home. This Day of Service is our way of giving back to the community that has given us so very much.”
The day of service is one of several activities planned at Notre Dame of Maryland University to welcome President Dr. James F. Conneely, inaugurated on April 5 as 12th president of the University. The event was made possible thanks to the support of United Way of Central Maryland, PNC Foundation, KCI Technologies, Barnes & Noble, Comcast, Enterprise, Heart of America, Random House, Scholastic Books, Ready at Five and First Book.
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About United Way of Central Maryland
For nearly 90 years, United Way of Central Maryland (UWCM) has been the region’s human service leader, encouraging all central Marylanders to give, advocate and volunteer. Its mission is to mobilize the community to improve people’s lives. UWCM is dedicated to helping individuals and families facing poverty meet their basic needs, stabilize and achieve self-sufficient lives. By drawing upon local knowledge, data and expertise to understand the community’s needs, UWCM is able to identify where gaps exist and concentrate on what works in addressing them – serving as a powerful advocate on critical health and human issues. UWCM supports programs and initiatives in the city of Baltimore and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford and Howard counties. For more information, visit www.uwcm.org.