There is more treasure in books…

United Way Cleveland and Cuyahoga Community College Club Connect“There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island.” – Walt Disney

How many books do you have in your home? According to the Children’s Literacy Foundation, each child in a middle-class household has access to 13 books. For every 300 children residing in a low-income household there is far less literacy treasure with only one book.

Many of us have heard the slogan “Up until third grade, children learn to read. After third grade, they read to learn.” If a student isn’t reading at grade level by the end of third grade, he or she is four times more likely to drop out of high school. And for minority populations, the risk is multiplied by 10.

The Solution
United Way’s Club Connect Adopt-a-School program combats challenges to grade-level reading. The program matches local sponsors with local schools that have a high enrollment of children from low-income families. The Club Connect program supplies each adopted school with 400 books, parent engagement tools and an online platform for out-of-school reading time.

We opened the first Club Connect reading room at Parma’s John Muir Elementary school on October 27. And this week, we’re cutting the ribbon at John F. Kennedy Elementary School in Maple Heights. Both schools are sponsored by Cuyahoga Community College.

Club Connect Ribbon CuttingIn the coming weeks we are launching Club Connect spaces in additional schools — Euclid’s Shoreview also sponsored by Cuyahoga Community College, and John Dewey and Eastwood Elementary Schools in Warrensville Heights both sponsored by Omnova Solutions.

Every individual in Cuyahoga County can add a piece of gold to the treasure chest – sign up and spend an hour of your day volunteering with a local school or library to read and tutor elementary students. Donate books to local schools, shelters and community organizations. Support your own child’s development by reading with (not to!) him or her for 15 minutes a day; that’s the same amount of time you spend watching commercials during your favorite show! The list could go on and on but the golden link is YOU!

If you would like to sponsor a local school with United Way’s Club Connect program, please contact me at

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