Most people who are familiar with the many programs supported by Mesa United Way know that helping young children learn to read is a high priority here. Our 12 Books program ensures children in Mesa's low-income neighborhoods get plenty of good age-appropriate books to take home for the summer. But it doesn't stop there. Dollars donated to Mesa United Way also support other reading programs, including Kids Need to Read, which is also based here in Mesa. MUW's acting CEO, Claudia Walters, recently received the following letter of thanks from Denise Gray, executive direector of Kids Need to Read:
"On behalf of everyone at Kids Need to Read, I would like to thank you and Mesa United Way for so kindly supporting the organization with the generous pledge of $2,766. We are so grateful to be able to fund the second year of the READ Together literacy program for deserving students here in Mesa.
"The twenty schools that benefited from the program last year were extremely cooperative in implementing the program. They have reported the children and majority of parents were thrilled to have books available to read on a daily basis and took the opportunity very much to heart. The comments from participating teachers have been outstanding! Here is an example:
"'Read Together was very beneficial for my kinder students. . . . With Read Together it gave the students an opportunity to take books home and having that one on one time with their parents. I noticed a difference once I started sending books home because when students would come across a word they already knew from reading they were very happy to be able to read. I saw a growth from their [Developmental Reading Assessment] scores which was a plus for the students and I'
"We hope everyone at Mesa United Way is gratified to know their organization is contributing to the long-term success of disadvantaged children through READ Together. In tum, we are proud of the exceptional programs Kids Need to Read provides to help children and adolescents succeed through literacy. Thank you for believing in books and kids and our passion to connect the two together. We could not be more appreciative!"
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