When one considers the role of big business in our small community, the presence of Dollar General is often overlooked, but the retailer continues to be one of the largest supporters of local schools.
This week, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation has announced that Portsmouth Elementary and Wheelersburg Elementary School were chosen as recipients for youth literacy grants in the amount of $3,000 each.
These grants are part of $4.5 million in youth literacy grants awarded to approximately 1,000 organizations across the 43 states that Dollar General serves.
“We plan on using these grant dollars to supplement our Project MORE program,” said Portsmouth Elementary School Principal, Beth Born.
Project MORE (Mentoring in Ohio for Reading Excellence) is a program designed to help students at risk engage with reading in a positive manner, through one-on-one mentoring.
“These dollars will be used to create another classroom for Project MORE and equip it with the necessary materials,” explained Project More director Angela Johnson. “We plan to have iPads at every station, so that the mentors can better help the students as well.”
The administration has witnessed phenomenal growth with its involvement in the education process and they have expanded on it every year since its inception. The program is always seeking individuals to mentor students and encourages anyone interested to become involved.
“We have a variety of volunteers,” explained Johnson. “We have high school students in the serve and learn program who come down and read with students, we have all sorts of students from Shawnee State come over, we’ve even had the Sheriff’s office become involved. It really does make a difference to these kids, we’ve had some increase their reading skills by two to three grade levels.”
For more information about Project MORE, please contact Project MORE directors, Angela Johnson or Debbie Akers at 740-353-6719 ext. 220.
Similar to Project MORE, Wheelersburg Elementary will also be using their grant to foster individualized literacy learning through their program Project MAP (Mentor A Pirate).
“We plan to use a portion of the grant to go towards iPad purchases,” explained MAP coordinator, Tina Green. “Whenever the students are working with the mentors, they may need a visual to help them understand. So our mentors are always on their phones trying to pull things up for the kids. With iPads, the students will be able to look things up, and be able to see it more clearly since the iPads are larger.”
Project MAP also has plans to purchase two subscriptions to Raz-kids, Raz-kids is a subscription service that allows students online access to reading materials. If a mentor is working with a student, and they want to continue to read at home, they can use the Raz-kids service to access the books online for free, which expands reading opportunities beyond the classroom.
“I also plan to buy some iTunes gift cards,” said Green. “We can use the gift cards to buy literacy apps and games to put on the iPads. Then the students can work on their vocabulary, their letter sounds and their site words, to expand their word knowledge. We’ll also be buying some educational and literacy centered board games. It helps to remove the pencil-paper work and makes it enjoyable for them, and they’ll have more interaction with their mentors as well.”
If you would like to become involved with Project MAP, you can contact Tina Green by calling 740-574-0641 or via email at [email protected]
“By awarding these grants, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation is committed to making a meaningful impact in our local communities,” said Todd Vasos, Dollar General’s chief executive officer. “These grants provide funds to support youth literacy initiatives and educational programs throughout the communities we serve to ensure a successful academic year for students.”
Committed to helping increase the literacy skills of individuals of all ages, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation has awarded more than $127 million in grants to nonprofit organizations.
The Dollar General Literacy Foundation awards grants each year to nonprofit organizations, schools and libraries within a 20-mile radius of a Dollar General store or distribution center to support adult, family, summer and youth literacy programs.
A complete list of grant recipients may be found online at www.dgliteracy.org. Grant applications for the 2017 grant cycle to benefit adult, family, summer and youth literacy programs will be available on Jan. 2, 2017.
Reach Ciara Conley at 740-981-6977, Facebook “Ciara Conley - Daily Times,” and Twitter @PDT_Ciara.