Being a positive force in the communities where we live and work is one of our core values, and our partnership with the United Way is an important part of that commitment. At the United Way of Greater Portland’s campaign kick-off rally last fall, WEXers came together to assemble literacy kits for young readers. More than 100 of those kits were recently delivered to students at Saccarappa elementary school in Westbrook, Maine by a team of six WEX volunteers.
“What these literacy kits do is provide kids the tools they need to ensure they’re reading at grade level by third grade,” said Mara Moorhead, director of donor engagement for the United Way. “We know if they’re not reading at grade level by third grade, they’re more likely to fall behind and less likely to graduate.”
The literacy kits, which will be distributed to students before April vacation, include a book targeted to their current reading level, crayons, play dough, stickers, coloring books, and other items for them to use during and after their break. Each kit also contains a personal note from a WEXer, offering encouragement for each student’s reading efforts.
Driving an Interest in Literacy and Learning
“We met with the school principal before going into the classrooms, and he told us that many students’ families aren’t financially able to provide these kinds of materials and that the kits would really brighten up vacation for students – giving them things that are both fun and educational to do,” said Jodi-ann Johnson, who has served as co-chair for WEX’s United Way efforts.
Meeting with students was definitely the high point of the day for WEXers who visited the school. “I’ve been involved with the United Way campaign for my three years at WEX and it was a privilege to see the faces and meet the people who are benefiting from our donation. That was a special experience,” said Richard Bean.
Following the school visit, both Johnson and Bean spoke of how the United Way campaign “resounds high, deep, and wide throughout the organization,” and that you never really know who you’re going to see as a face volunteering, sponsoring, or helping out.
Learn more about our commitment to social responsibility and how giving back and engaging with our local communities is a core value for the global WEX family.