Serving Monroe, Owen, and Greene Counties

Real Men Read Launches at R-BB Schools!

Volunteer mentors will visit Richland Bean Blossom Schools' kindergarten classrooms the next two years to inspire a love of reading.

The Real Men Read program brings local "MENtors" into classrooms to read to students once a month for five months during the school year. Kindergarteners receive a book during each visit to build their own home libraries and share with their parents. The MENtors will reach an estimated 240 children each year.

Thanks to the Duke Energy Foundation for awarding United Way of Monroe County $7,000 to build the program at RBBCSC. With this grant, all public schools in Monroe County, as well as the kindergarten classes of Spencer Owen Community Schools, now benefit from Real Men Read. This results in 6,000 books making their way into students' homes each program year.

Real Men Read fits with United Way of Monroe County's goal to improve educational outcomes for local youth, preparing them for success in school and life. “Children are learning to read in school until about the third grade. Starting in fourth grade, they are expected to be able to read to learn,” said Ashley Schoolman, Assistant Director of Community Initiatives for United Way of Monroe County. “The Real Men Read program encourages students to improve their literacy skills for the pleasure of reading, and provides an opportunity to bring a positive, male role model into the elementary school setting. We had great success with this program in the Spencer-Owen Community Schools classrooms last year and we are so glad to see even more students and MENtors enjoying reading together this year.”

“Children benefit by seeing men demonstrating the importance of reading and hopefully it inspires boys—and girls—to read more,” said Duke Energy South Central Indiana District Manager Bruce Calloway. “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.”

"We are grateful to Duke Energy Foundation for its support of United Way's reading initiatives and we look forward to strengthening our partnership with the Richland-Bean Blossom Schools," remarked Barry Lessow, United Way Executive Director. "Thanks to the MENtors and, of course, the RBB classroom teachers for all they do to help children learn the value of reading."

Eight community mentors, including representatives from local businesses, community organizations, and fellow educators will participate in the RBB Real Men Read program.  All volunteers go through an orientation to learn best practices for engaging young students.

>> Read more about the Real Men Read program


Do you feel passionate about strengthening education supports 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.

  • Born Learning
  • Financial Stability Alliance
  • Monroe Smart Start
  • Familywize Discount Prescription Card
  • Bank On Bloomington