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Notre Dame of Maryland University President’s Day of Service Supports Childhood Literacy: Partnership with United Way Benefits Baltimore City Head Start

April 7, 2013

Notre Dame of Maryland University is celebrating the inauguration of James F. Conneely as its twelfth president with a week-long series of community events, culminating in a day of service on April 7 aimed at stemming summer reading loss among Baltimore City Head Start students.

In partnership with the United Way of Central Maryland, Notre Dame students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends will prepare more than 3,500 summer reading tote bags, containing more than 13,000 books, for children enrolled in Baltimore City Head Start, containing such beloved titles as The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Mis Colores/My Colors and Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

“As the state’s largest private provider of teachers, we at Notre Dame understand the importance of early education to prepare lifelong learners and developing reading skills,” said Dr. James F. Conneely, president of Notre Dame. “We know that during summer vacation children’s reading skills falter, and the impact is especially pronounced for low income students who may not have sufficient reading resources at home. This Day of Service is our way of giving back to the community that has given us so very much.”

“The summer setback contributes significantly to the persistent learning gap between middle class and low income families,” said Mary Gunning, director of Saint Jerome’s Head Start. “Through the support of Notre Dame, the United Way and nearly 150 volunteers, we will be able to encourage families to take time this summer to read together.”

“We are thrilled that Notre Dame and the community are coming together to support our children and families. Many of our low income children simply don’t have access to a variety of books at home to enjoy, which makes this gift so much more meaningful. The impact of having access to developmentally appropriate books at home becomes much more significant when you realize that quite possibility 200 of our most vulnerable children will be cut from the program next fall due to sequestration, said Shannon Burroughs-Campbell, Executive Director, Baltimore City Head Start

During a second day of service in May, Notre Dame’s graduating seniors will partner with the United Way’s READ LEARN SUCCEED to visit Head Start classrooms and read to the children. 

The President’s Day of Service is made possible through the generous support of PNC Bank, KCI Technologies, The Heart of America Foundation, Comcast, Barnes and Noble, Harris Teeter, Chick-Fil-A, Roland Park Bagel, Scholastic Parent and Child, and Enterprise Commercial Trucks.

About Notre Dame of Maryland University

Notre Dame of Maryland University, founded as a Catholic liberal arts college in 1895 by the School Sisters of Notre Dame, engages students as confident, capable learners and leaders, thriving in the vibrant, personal community of its distinguished Women’s College, College of Adult Undergraduate Studies and College of Graduate Studies. At its main campus in north Baltimore and at satellite centers throughout Maryland, the University educates nearly 3,000 women and men enrolled in degree and certificate programs offered through the Schools of Arts and Sciences, Education, Nursing and Pharmacy. Rich in tradition, and attuned to the contemporary needs of a diverse society, Notre Dame provides students with opportunities in research, study abroad and service to the global community. Notre Dame’s graduates change lives—in their careers, communities and families. Visit www.ndm.edu.

About the United Way of Central Maryland

For nearly 90 years, United Way of Central Maryland (UWCM) has been the region’s human service leader, encouraging all central Marylanders to give, advocate and volunteer. Its mission is to mobilize the community to improve people’s lives. UWCM is dedicated to helping individuals and families facing poverty meet their basic needs, stabilize and achieve self-sufficient lives. By drawing upon local knowledge, data and expertise to understand the community’s needs, UWCM is able to identify where gaps exist and concentrate on what works in addressing them – serving as a powerful advocate on critical health and human issues. UWCM supports programs and initiatives in the city of Baltimore and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford and Howard counties. For more information, visit www.uwcm.org.