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Alixandra unleashes her local love by volunteering at a literacy camp, helping Jayce’s kids read more confidently.

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Her decision to take action...


When I think about how I can give back to my community, I try to think of ways I can use my skills. Literacy has been so important in my life, both personally and professionally. Spending time with books is so formative. It can open up your imagination, take you on adventures and help you see the world in a way you might not otherwise be able to.

The United Way literacy camp I volunteered with is particularly important to our community. Volunteering there was such a great experience. because I had an opportunity to spend time with young people who are learning to share my love of books and reading and who really want to improve their reading ability.

It’s a two-way street: In the process of helping kids with their reading, I learned a lot too. After spending a few hours sitting in a classroom with kids showing me what they know I felt like I came away having learned something, too. As a volunteer, there’s always more to learn, and I get the satisfaction of knowing that I’ve been able to help someone.

Hearing from a mom about how important this program has been to her and her children means a lot to me. It’s been so affirming knowing that my donation and my volunteer work is helping both parents and children on their journey. Volunteering is also about knowing that I’m making an impact in the community for entire families. We have a culture of giving that I am proud to be part of.

United Way volunteer


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When I learned that my daughter, Nadine, was reading at a pre-K level in grade 2, it felt like a punch to the gut. I’m a single mother of four kids and had just entered university. I was so busy, I didn’t realize she was floating under the radar. Once I knew, though, my focus became enhancing all my kids’ learning abilities.

At first, I thought a literacy camp would just give Nadine extra practice, but right away, she showed so much improvement. She came home every day with stories about reading books with the volunteers, and I thought, ‘I want my daughter to have this much excitement reading with her mom.’ Within the first week, I was getting pamphlets on how to make reading fun and engaging for parents, too. I was glad to get them—they’ll help me in the future with my two younger children.

My son Chase wasn’t as under the radar as Nadine was, but he was reading at a lower level. So, when they were both invited to the camp the following summer, I knew it was the best choice. The camp gave him so much confidence. Chase deals with ADHD, but the volunteers didn’t discourage him for learning at a slower pace—they were patient with him.

Now that I’m a literacy teacher myself, I understand that reading is confidence. That’s why I push for these camps. If any parent has access to them, they need to jump right in with their kids.

Chase and Nadine are now seven and 10; they’re both reading the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series and they talk about what’s going to happen next. When I was first told Nadine was three grades behind in her reading level, I would never have guessed that she and Chase would be reading chapter books together two years later.

I can’t fully express what United Way has done for my kids. The positive effects of literacy camp last much longer than the two weeks the kids spend there; the future of my entire family has been positively impacted.

Mom of United Way program participants


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