Sandy Hook

Students Graduate from Reading Champions Program

Reading-Champions-graduationGreenwich United Way Reading Champions graduation ceremonies kicked off this month. A total of 458 students will graduate this year from the organization’s flagship volunteer program that focuses on developing literacy skills for elementary school students in Greenwich. Close to 2,500 students have completed this program since 2008 when the program launched with co-founder Joan Lowe in collaboration with the Greenwich United Way Youth Service Coordinator. read more...

Sandy Hook Teacher Visits United Way

On Nov. 24 Kaitlin M. Roig-DeBellis, inspirational teacher from Sandy Hook Elementary and author of Choosing Hope, visited Greenwich United Way to meet with Founder of Reading Champions, Joan Lowe. Kaitlin and Joan talked about the innovative after school program that was established by United Way in 2011 and works to narrow the achievement gap among elementary school youth in Greenwich. read more...

Reading Champions Expands

The Greenwich United Way’s Reading Champions program is continuing to grown with the opening of their 15th location at Old Greenwich School.
“We are super excited. It is a tremendous program. It not only builds children’s reading ability with trained volunteers who can really help them grow, it also connects them to a community member that they can bond with, “said Patricia Raneri, Old Greenwich Principal.
First Selectmen Peter Tesei, Reading Champions Founder Joan Lowe & former Sandy Hook Elementary School Teacher Kaitlin DeBellis were among the attendees celebrating the program’s growth.
“I thank you especially, for enabling me to be a part of something so positive and hopeful on a day that stands for such darkness and evil. Today, this moment, is full of light. I am wholly honored to be here today and to be a part of it. As a teacher and now author-The gift of reading is very near and dear to my heart. Prior to founding Classes 4 Classes, I spent my days with my first graders-helping them to become readers. I still spend my summers doing so. I know the joy that reading brings to children and the sparkle they get in their eye when they’ve moved on to a new ‘reading level’. It is pure magic,” said Kaitlin DeBellis, Founder & Executive Director of Classes 4 Classes.
A completely volunteer run program, Reading Champions serves over 400 elementary school students each year. The program is in the Town’s elementary schools, plus the Byram Archibald Neighborhood Center, Community Centers, Inc., the Boys and Girls Club of Greenwich, and the YWCA of Greenwich.
“They’re mentors, they’re tutors, they’re really cheerleaders and they’re role models for the kids,” Lowe said. “They work to get all the children to love learning.”
The program will officially begin at OGS in January.
The United Way is currently looking for more Reading Champions volunteers. You can learn more about the program by visiting