Read United, an initiative of United Way of Central Georgia, addresses the literacy challenges facing Central Georgia. Read United recruits volunteers to tutor kindergarten through third grade students in reading. Through tutoring, volunteers help children increase their reading literacy, become a positive influence in the child’s life, and improve the overall health and wellness of our community.
Learn more about how you can make a difference in your community through Read United.
Behind the United Way organization are passionate, hard-working people. Sylvia McGee is one of many people who help create opportunities to strengthen our community. With a love for children and a passion to help the younger generation succeed in life, Sylvia explains why volunteering is so important:
“The problem is not necessarily what is happening in our schools, it’s what is happening in our communities. The schools did not create the issue of poverty, and cannot address those needs alone. So, when you have children who need a little extra, a community effort can make that difference.”
Sylvia retired from the school district after working for 35 years. Initially, her job was to help families and children who had issues that impacted learning and growing. Early in her career, she developed a passion for helping people in need.
“When I would go into homes and see a lot of poverty, mental health issues, and family dysfunction, I realized the issues were always bigger than what they appeared to be,” Sylvia said. “I saw there were a lot of needs in our community and we had to go deeper than what we saw.”
Experience Corps provides a strong solution to a serious problem. This tutoring program is an intergenerational model in which tutors who are at least 50 years old will work with a struggling student over time. Experience Corps nationwide is conducting research using this program and others to determine if a student will succeed academically due to mentor/tutor attention in addition to what a student receives in the classroom.
Sylvia was a part of establishing the grant from AARP, which birthed Experience Corps. In addition to her many years working for the school district, Sylvia was also serving as a board member for United Way. When United Way started its collective impact agenda to improve early childhood literacy, she was ready and willing to positively affect her community.
“I really understand both the mission of United Way as a board member and the challenges of the children in our community, especially children of poverty,” Sylvia said. “So, I bring both those backgrounds to the Project Manager position.”