For over two decades, Energy Express has kept children in rural and low-income areas of West Virginia reading, learning and well-nourished throughout summertime. Offered at more than 70 sites throughout the Mountain State, the West Virginia University Extension Service and AmeriCorps program takes place from June 22 to July 31.
An award-winning five to six-week summer reading and nutrition program, Energy Express helps participating children overcome the “summer slide” that occurs when youths fall behind academically during the summers in between school years. The program helps children entering Kindergarten through eighth grade maintain or increase reading skills and learn about nutritional well-being.
Participating children receive two healthy, family-style meals a day and partake in more than three hours of daily reading and learning with the help of AmeriCorps mentors and community volunteers. The program also includes time for a one-on-one reading to ensure every child has opportunity to develop individually.
According to Terri Collier, the academic success and literacy specialist with the WVU Extension Service and director of the Energy Express program, Energy Express makes a tangible impact in the lives of thousands of West Virginia youths during the summer. In 2014 alone, participating children received more than 139,500 meals, while 63 percent of participants maintained or increased reading achievement levels.
“This program is vital to children living in low-income areas,” said Collier. “Not only does it provide them with a nurturing environment during the summer months, but it also keeps them sharp and ready for academic success as the next school year approaches.”
Energy Express is a collaborative effort among the WVU Extension Service, AmeriCorps, West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts, and the West Virginia Department of Education—Office of Child Nutrition. Several businesses, school boards and more than 3,200 family and community members unite to volunteer and provide funding to the program.
For more information about becoming a volunteer, mentor or community coordinator with Energy Express, visit http://energyexpress.ext.wvu.edu/ or call 304-293-3855.
Editor’s Note: Please see the list of Energy Express sites below.
Boone: Nellis, Ramage
Cabell: Central City
Fayette: Mt. Hope, SALS Community Center
Greenbrier: Alderson, Frankford, Rainelle, Rupert, White Sulphur Springs
Hampshire: Romney, Slanesville
Hancock: Oak Glen, Weirton
Harrison: Northview, Salem, Wilsonburg
Kanawha: Harambee, Sharon Dawes
Lewis: Peterson Central
Logan: Buffalo, Chapmanville, Logan, Man, Omar
McDowell: Anawalt, Bradshaw, Fall River, Kimball, Welch
Mineral: Frankfort, Keyser l, Keyser ll
Mingo: Dingess, Gilbert, Matewan, Williamson
Monongalia: Mason-Dixon, Mylan Park
Monroe: Mountain View, Peterstown
Preston: Kingwood, Terra Alta
Raleigh: Bradley, Coal City, Cranberry Prosperity, Fairdale
Ritchie: Creed Collins, Smithville
Webster: Glade, Webster Springs
Wetzel: Paden City, Short Line
Wood: Martin, McKinley, Mineral Wells, Neale
Wyoming: Berlin Mckinney, Herndon, Mullens
CONTACT: Cassie Thomas, WVU Extension Service
Follow @WVUToday on Twitter.