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NDMU Senior Day of Service Combats Summer Learning Loss Among City Head Start Students

May 20, 2013

On May 20, 2013 volunteers from United Way of Central Maryland, Notre Dame of Maryland University and PNC distributed summer reading bags to Head Start students to take home for the summer—filling an urgent learning need in the lives of these low-income children as many Head Start locations face closure due to federal sequestration.

More than 150 Notre Dame of Maryland University volunteers mobilized to help pack 3,600 bags of summer reading books on April 7 that were distributed by United Way of Central Maryland to Head Start locations across Baltimore City the following day. On Monday, May 20, these bags of summer reading books will be handed out to Head Start students while volunteers from Notre Dame of Maryland University, United Way of Central Maryland and PNC Bank will read stories to the children.

"Notre Dame is the largest private providers of teachers in Maryland, so we understand the importance of early education to develop reading skills and prepare lifelong learners," said Dr. James F. Conneely, president of Notre Dame of Maryland University. “In the final days before their college graduation, 30 Notre Dame seniors are looking forward to sharing their love of reading in hopes of inspiring a new generation of learners.”

Federal sequestration threatens to cut funding to several Baltimore City Head Start locations, potentially closing as many as 10 classrooms and affecting approximately 200 young students.

“Head Start is pivotal to low-income children and their families, helping lay the foundation of their academic success. Placing several new books in each home will help all of Baltimore City’s Head Start children stave off learning loss during the summer,” said Mark Furst, president and CEO of UWCM. “Literacy and a strong education are important steps to self-sufficiency.”

United Way of Central Maryland’s work focuses on bringing financial stability, good health and self-sufficiency to central Marylanders facing poverty. In late 2012, it launched READ LEARN SUCCEED, an effort to recruit volunteers to read aloud to local low-income children younger than fourth grade, thereby increasing their chances of living successful, self-sufficient lives as adults.

Books being distributed to Head Start students in the summer reading bags vary by age and include The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Mis Colores/My Colors and Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? The summer reading bags were made possible by United Way of Central Maryland, Baltimore City Head Start, PNC Bank, Barnes & Noble, Enterprise Commercial Trucks, Comcast, Scholastic Parent and Child, KCI Technologies, and The Heart of America Foundation.

Enjoy highlights from the Day of Service!