Through a combination of healthy breakfasts, lunches and learning activities, West Virginia University Extension Services Energy Express program continues to improve the lives of low-income children.

Entering its 17th year, the Energy Express program helps approximately 3,280 children at 83 different sites in 41 counties around the state.

Thanks to $175,000 from American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the number of children served will increase by 10 percent, adding seven additional Energy Express sites in the state. This money also allowed the hiring of 63 more AmeriCorps members.

Based on the success of Energy Express participants and the unique aspects of the program, the National Center for Summer Learning at Johns Hopkins University has named the WVU s Energy Express program one of the nations best summer learning programs.

Ron Fairchild, executive director of the National Center for Summer Learning, will present the award at a ceremony at West Virginia Wesleyan College on Thursday, June 18.The ceremony also serves as the swearing-in event for AmeriCorps members.

This WVU 4 -H Youth Development program, in conjunction with AmeriCorps, ensures that children in low-income communities receive the nutrition and reading help they need to stay on track for six weeks during the summer.

According to Energy Express faculty, some children in rural, low-income areas fall behind in academic test scores because they dont continue to developing their reading skills over the summer.

Two-thirds of the achievement gap can be traced back to summer, so it is imperative to work on closing the summer gap,Ruthellen Phillips, Energy Express director, said.

According to Energy Express faculty, some children in rural, low-income areas fall behind academically during the summer.This is referred to as the”summer slide.”The goal of the program is to help guarantee children do not stumble into thesummer slide.

Under the direction of WVU Extension, West Virginia teachers supervise about 555 AmeriCorps college students who serve as mentors. The mentors spend their days reading, writing, interacting and creating artwork with kids in first through sixth grades.

AmeriCorps funds the training and recruitment of its members who then supervise and teach children at each Energy Express site.The states AmeriCorps members are managed by Volunteer West Virginia and the states Commission on National and Community Service.AmeriCorps and the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts are the programs largest supporters outside of WVU Extension.

The benefits of Energy Express extend beyond the six weeks of summer. Each week every child receives a book to take home and keep.

We hope kids keep reading after Energy Express ends.The take-home books help build children’s libraries and hopefully encourage the children to read at home,”Phillips said.

Energy Express is one of WVU Extension Services premier programs, uniting children and community members to make summer a time for food, fun and learning in areas and for people in need.

For more information about Energy Express, visit www.energyexpress.wvu.edu , or call Ruthellen Phillips at 304-293-3855.

County:Site Name

Barbour:Belington

Barbour: Philippi

Boone: Ashford-Nellis

Boone: Van-Wharton

Cabell: Guyandotte

Calhoun: Calhoun

Clay: Big Otter

Clay: Clay Elementary

Doddridge: Doddridge

Fayette: Mt. Hope

Fayette: SALS Community Center

Gilmer: Glenville State College

Grant: Petersburg

Greenbrier: Alderson

Greenbrier: Frankford

Greenbrier: Lewisburg

Greenbrier: Rainelle

Greenbrier: Ronceverte

Greenbrier: Western Greenbrier

Greenbrier: White Sulphur Springs

Hampshire: Hampshire High School

Hampshire: Romney

Hancock: First United Methodist ChurchWeirton

Harrison: Northview

Harrison: Salem International University

Harrison: Wilsonburg

Jefferson: Ranson

Kanawha: Bob Burdette Center

Kanawha: Flinn

Kanawha: Harambee

Kanawha: Sharon Dawes

Lewis: Jane Lew Elementary

Lewis: Roanoke

Lincoln: Big Ugly

Lincoln: Duval

Lincoln: Hamlin

Logan: Chapmanville

Logan: Logan Elementary

Logan: Man Elementary

Marion: Rivesville

Marshall: Cameron Elementary

McDowell: Southside

Mercer: Bluefield Intermediate

Mercer: Lashmeet/Matoaka

Mercer: Mercer

Mercer: Oakvale

Mineral: Keyser HeadStart

Mineral: Keyser I

Mineral: Keyser II

Mineral: Wiley Ford

Mingo: Burch

Mingo: Dingess

Mingo: Gilbert

Mingo: Kermit

Mingo: Lenore

Monongalia: Mason-Dixon

Monongalia: Mylan Park

Monongalia: Skyview

Monroe: Mountainview

Monroe: Peterstown Elementary

Morgan: Widmyer Elementary

Ohio: Bridge Street

Pleasants: St. Mary’s Elementary

Pocahontas: Marlinton

Preston: Kingwood

Preston: Terra Alta

Preston: Tunnelton/Denver Elementary

Raleigh: Bradley

Raleigh: Coal City

Raleigh: Cranberry-Prosperity

Ritchie: Harrisville

Roane: Spencer

Taylor: Flemington

Tucker: Davis Thomas Elementary

Tyler: A.I. Boreman Elementary

Tyler: Sistersville Elementary

Wayne: Crum

Wirt: Wirt Co. Primary Center

Wood: Franklin Elementary

Wood: Madison Elementary

Wood: Martin Elementary

Wyoming: Huff Consolidated

Wyoming: Mullens