Million Mentors Challenge


The United Way of Northwest Connecticut has joined United Way Worldwide’s Million Mentors Challenge! United Way has set out a challenge to help cut the high school dropout number in half by 2018. According to United Worldwide, “reading is linked to high school success. That’s because children are learning to read for the first few years of school, but after fourth grade they’re reading to learn. Without strong reading skills, they fall behind, disengage and often drop out. “
      Today, two-thirds of American fourth graders cannot read at grade level. The short-fall in reading proficiency is especially pronounced among low-income, African- American and Latino children. Disadvantaged children come to school at least two years behind their peers in pre-reading skills. It is hard to catch up—especially after second or third grade.
Together, we can do something about it. United Ways all over the country are recruit­ing people with passion, expertise and resources to make a difference in this area. They’re galvanizing people to read to preschoolers, tutor third graders and mentor kids who need a caring adult in their lives.
      According to Pat Marciano, Office Manager/Community Impact Associate with United Way of Northwest Connecticut, “Volunteers can make the difference between a high school graduate and a high school dropout. We need people who are willing to give even as little as one hour per week – during school, after school, or even on weekends to help a child learn to read or to read better. We will be working with YMCA Literacy Volunteers – one of our partners in education – to match our volunteers with a person who needs help reading.”
      YMCA Literacy Volunteers is a program of the Northwest Connecticut Y. The Literacy program provides one-on-one tutoring, tutor training, ongoing training, collaboration with social services, and assistance to school and community agencies upon request. Reading books aloud with children every day not only builds language and pre-literacy skills, but exposes them to new ideas, builds their social/ emotional and problem solving skills and inspires them to become lifelong learners.
      If you have one hour a week to help someone learn to read or improve their reading skills, call the United Way office at 860-489-4131 or e-mail