PARKERSBURG – Energy Express, an award-winning summer reading program serving 40 children in Wood County, concluded six weeks of reading, writing, acting and art last week, but not before staff held a free open house for participants, siblings and their families at Martin Elementary School on July 29.
Energy Express staff members organized a community school supply drive earlier this summer. These supplies were given to participants, their siblings and young school-aged volunteers during a community carnival organized by the Martin team.
“Thanks to a generous grant from Artsbridge, JD Williamson, local artist, taught art classes and drew pictures for the children during the event.” said Brie-Ann Young, community coordinator for the Wood County Energy Express program. âOther donors, such as many local Dollar Generals and Family Dollars, Vienna Walmart and various other community members, friends and family, have allowed us to set up donation boxes, donate school supplies and helped us with our end of program carnival. For this support, we are eternally grateful.
The reading program lasted all summer.
âOur kids, mentors and volunteers are working hard throughout these summer months, but they are also having fun and taking pride in what they do,â said Ashley Wood, program site supervisor. âThey can’t wait to share their art and writing with leaders in their community, neighbors, friends and family. “
The Energy Express Summer Reading Program provides learning and nutrition opportunities during the summer months, when children are most at risk of falling into the “summer slide”. Summer slipping occurs when children fall behind in school because they don’t develop or maintain their reading skills throughout the summer months.
Children spend their days in an environment rich in printed matter where they read, write and create works of art. The benefits of Energy Express extend beyond the six weeks of summer. Each week, each child receives a book to take home and keep.
Primary funding for Energy Express comes from West Virginia University Extension Service, Volunteer WV – the State Commission for National and Community Service and the Summer Food Service Program through the West Virginia Department of Education.
In addition to these state partners, county programs rely on local support. Local funding partners include The Esbenshade Advised Fund / Spartan Foundation / Tri-State Roofing and Sheet Metal Company, United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley, Wood County Schools, and the Adolescent Health Initiative.
For more information or to donate supplies or money for the program, call Gwen Crum at (304) 424-1960. Or send an email to [email protected]