Bill Rosenberger: Many helped make United Way reading event a sucess

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 21, 2022

Scientists report that reading to children stimulates brain activity and development.

While that sounds good, it’s even better to see it in person. And that’s what happened Nov. 15 when United Way of the River Cities and more than 200 volunteers read in third-grade classrooms in Cabell, Wayne, Lincoln and Mason counties in West Virginia, and Lawrence County.

Read Across the River Cities – sponsored the Alcon Foundation, Huntington Foundation, Weisberg Foundation, Marathon Petroleum, and a host of parents and community members – was the largest volunteer engagement event ever hosted by United Way of the River Cities.

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And it was a great success because of those volunteers from all throughout the region gave an hour of their time to read the first two chapters of Charlotte’s Web and then distribute copies of the book to each of the more than 2,500 children spread across those five counties.

To all of our volunteers, we are so grateful. And we can only hope that all the smiling faces of those 7- and 8-year-old children were thank you enough.

In the schools that United Way staff visited, we met volunteers who walked away with smiles just as big as those children and gratitude to United Way of the River Cities for making it possible. Many also asked what else United Way of the River Cities is doing in the community.

We raise funds each year that are strategically distributed to nonprofits that are providing life-changing programs and services to children, families and others who are experiencing poverty and hardships.

Thanks to the generosity of area businesses and their employees, along with community members, more than $500,000 was distributed back into the community this year. When everyone does something, amazing things are possible.

And that’s why Read Across the River Cities was successful. We didn’t need one person to read to 125 third-grade classrooms. We needed 200. You all made it possible.

That’s the power of Living United.

From all of us at United Way of the River Cities, thank you!

Bill Rosenberger is director of Resource Development, United Way of the River Cities