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United Way of Grant County Literacy Taskforce kicks off!
May 23, 2024
Photo from article - United Way of Grant County Literacy Taskforce kicks off!

In an ambitious effort to address one of the most pressing educational challenges, United Way of Grant County has launched the Grant County Literacy Taskforce. This initiative represents a concerted push to enhance literacy and cultivate a love of reading among the youth in the community, laying the groundwork for future academic and personal success.

The Literacy Taskforce is a collaborative endeavor, drawing on the expertise and dedication of representatives from all five school districts—Marion, Mississinewa, Madison-Grant, Oak Hill, and Eastbrook. Joining them are partners from Indiana Wesleyan University, Ivy Tech University, local libraries, after-school programs, preschools, and organizations like Thriving Grant County-Thriving Mill Township. This diverse coalition is unified by a shared commitment to improving literacy outcomes for all children in Grant County.

“We’re bringing together a wide array of voices and perspectives to tackle a critical issue,” said LeeAnna Smith, Executive Director of United Way of Grant County. “Literacy is fundamental to education and lifelong learning, and through this taskforce, we want to make sure that every child in our community has the tools they need to succeed.”

The formation of the Literacy Taskforce comes on the heels of the successful Grant County Imagination Library program, which has distributed over 16,000 free books to children in Grant County since its launch last year.

The taskforce’s approach is strategic. Meeting monthly, members are participating in an Appreciative Inquiry process facilitated by Megan Gilmore and Len Anspach from Lark’s Song, a local organization that is internationally recognized for it’s work in wellbeing education. Over the next four months, the taskforce will work to identify and develop programs and goals tailored to the specific needs of Grant County’s youth.

This initiative is not merely about distributing books or improving test scores; it’s about addressing the broader implications of literacy. Strong literacy skills are correlated with higher academic achievement, better health outcomes, and increased economic opportunities. By fostering these skills early, the Literacy Taskforce aims to break down barriers and create a foundation for lifelong success.

“The taskforce really is an example of what community collaboration can accomplish,” added Smith. “There’s a sense of passion and commitment among the members. We’re not just looking at the short-term; we’re planning for a sustainable impact that will benefit our children for years to come.”

The launch of the Literacy Taskforce is a significant milestone in United Way’s ongoing mission to address the root causes of pressing community issues. It exemplifies the organization’s broader strategy of leveraging local partnerships to create lasting change.

United Way’s history of community engagement and support underscores the importance of this initiative. Since its founding in 1956, United Way of Grant County has been a cornerstone of support for local programs focused on health, education, and financial stability. The Literacy Taskforce is the latest example of how the organization continues to evolve and respond to the community’s needs.

For more information about the Grant County Literacy Taskforce or to get involved, please contact United Way of Grant County at 765-662-9811 or contact LeeAnna Smith at [email protected].

About United Way of Grant County: Founded in 1956, United Way of Grant County is dedicated to improving lives by mobilizing the caring power of the community to advance the common good. By focusing on education, financial stability, and health, United Way works to create lasting change in Grant County, Indiana, and helps build a brighter future for all residents.

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