United Way Launches “My Very Own Library” in Wilmington Schools

January 23 18:38 2016 Print This Article

United Way of Delaware (UWD) is leading a collective effort to build better readers and increase literacy scores among the city’s elementary school students via the newly launched “My Very Own Library” (MVOL) program. UWD kicked off the MVOL initiative on December 8, 2015 with local partners Global Shapers and DuPont.

MVOL, which was first modeled in Newark, New Jersey, as a supplemental reading program run by Scholastic Book Fairs, a division of Scholastic, the world’s largest publisher and distributor of children’s books, and conceived by the family of late philanthropist Anne Feeley, has expanded its international reach to include Wilmington, Delaware. The program will be initially administered in eight schools in Red Clay and Christina School Districts: Elbert Palmer, Bancroft, Stubbs, Pulaski, Lewis Dual Language, Highlands, Warner, and Shortlidge. United Way of Delaware and its partners expect to expand the program throughout the state of Delaware.

_MG_5483According to MVOL’s national project director Shannon Boehmer, “Three thousand students in Wilmington will walk away with more than 30,000 books [10 per student] to add to their own home libraries before the end of this school year. The partners, including UWD, have done an outstanding job bringing together influencers from all over Wilmington to maximize the program’s impact.” Boehmer adds that Scholastic and MVOL will also host inspiring book author visits at each school, along with three family nights this school year, to encourage parent involvement.

Studies have shown that a love for reading has been proven to yield world exposure, improve writing skills, and provide access to a broad range of career opportunities. Wilmington’s MVOL program is a collective effort and supplemental approach to helping overcome a root cause for why many local children struggle to read and risk being left behind. UWD will lend its expertise to help ensure a measurable impact on the community, and provide a voice and internal infrastructure for the program._MG_5438

“The educational landscape in Wilmington is undergoing major changes, as test scores show that our local schools need immediate and intensive support,” notes UWD President and CEO Michelle A. Taylor. “As part of our Community Impact mission, UWD has a vision to see all Delaware children reading on grade level by third grade. We believe that

with MVOL, we are adding an important tool in the effort to improve children’s reading proficiency, create a sense of educational empowerment for the children and their families and, most importantly, support the educational environment with the goal to have the children love reading”

Longtime UWD supporter, DuPont is committed to K-12 education, early literacy and is supporting the program through direct funding and literacy volunteer efforts. Global Shapers, an organization of young leaders driven to make meaningful contributions to the community, will provide volunteers to engage the local community. Taylor said organizers also look forward to hosting a large-scale MVOL finale in June 2016 for more than 5,000 attendees to celebrate the students’ success.