Serving Monroe, Owen, and Greene Counties

Duke Energy Grant Grows 'Real Men Read' Program

May 2, 2018 – Volunteer Real Men Read MENtors will be visiting kindergarten classrooms for the first time in Eastern Greene Elementary School and returning to Spencer-Owen and Richland-Bean Blossom Community Schools in the 2018-2019 academic year. United Way of Monroe County received a $10,000 grant from the Duke Energy Foundation to increase the capacity of the Real Men Read program. Duke Energy was a key funding partner to launch the program in 2013 and their generosity continues today.
Real Men Read brings male mentors from the community into kindergarten classrooms to read a book once a month for five months during the school year. The kindergarteners receive a book during each visit to build their own home libraries and share with their families. 
By introducing the program at Eastern Greene Community Schools, Real Men Read will reach four new kindergarten classrooms with nearly 100 students. Between Eastern Greene, Spencer-Owen, and Richland-Bean Blossom Community Schools the program will encompass 21 classrooms and over 450 young learners. This grant will also help support the training of four new Real Men Read mentors who will bring an appreciation of reading into their classrooms. 
“Real Men Read gets kids interested in learning, and provides the books we know will propel them farther in their education,” said Chase Techentin, Community Initiatives Associate at United Way. “The Duke Energy grant will help provide books for more than 450 kids in the coming school year, as well as reading guides for parents and mentors to use as they read with their kindergarteners. Overall, the program's mentorship and books help all students, regardless of their background, get interested today and go farther in their education tomorrow.”
“The Duke Energy Foundation is pleased to continue this partnership with United Way of Monroe County,” said Duke Energy Community Relations representatives. “The program gets books into children’s hands and introduces an often overlooked volunteer base to our schools by utilizing positive male role models as MENtors.”
Building strong literacy skills in Kindergarten is crucial to a child's future school success. For children who do not come from literacy-rich homes or attend preschool programs, it may be their first substantial exposure to the building blocks of reading. United Way is proud to bring partners together to provide extra opportunities for all children to spend time in positive, nurturing learning environments.
Real Men Read fits with United Way of Monroe County’s goal to improve educational opportunities for local youth, preparing them for success in school and life.

Do you want to strengthen education in our community?

Please consider donating to the United Way Education Priority Fund. This fund helps children achieve their potential through cradle-to-career initiatives that ensure kids enter kindergarten ready to learn and graduate high school ready to earn success in college or career.

Want to learn more about the other building blocks for a good life? Visit Earnings and Essentials to see how we are making an impact.


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