‘Reading Champions’ Celebrates 10 Year Anniversary

The Greenwich United Way volunteer program, Reading Champions, turns ten this year. The program was inspired by Greenwich resident and retired teacher, Joan Lowe who guided the program in collaboration with Greenwich Public Schools during the fall of 2008 at North Mianus School. Today, the program has expanded to engage over 100 active volunteers who reach over 400 students each year in all Greenwich elementary schools, the YWCA of Greenwich, Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich and the after-school program at Byram Archibald Neighborhood Center (BANC). read more...

‘Dance for Champs’ to Benefit United Way Programs

The Greenwich United Way is expanding the organization’s Champion’s programs, spearheaded by their Reading Champions program, to include other subject areas including math, homework and finance over the next year. To help raise awareness and bring in support, Greenwich Dance Studio and Arthur Murray Grand Ballroom of Greenwich is sponsoring a fundraiser on Sunday, Oct. 22, at Greenwich Academy. The event will include performances by both dance schools. read more...

Reading Champions Holds Kick-off Meeting

Greenwich United Way Reading Champions started its 10th year of dedicated service to its flagship program at a kick-off meeting with the program liaisons on Sept. 15. Program Coordinator, Marie Wardell, and Volunteer Coordinator, Betsy Coons, met with site liaisons to plan the launch of Reading Champions at all Greenwich elementary schools and four after-school programs. The program officially starts in late October. Volunteers are always needed and Greenwich United Way provides training. Contact Greenwich United Way at 203-869-2221 or email read more...

Reading Champions Program Celebrates End of Year

The Greenwich United Way recently awarded 450 students participating in the Reading Champions program during the 2016/17 school year. Each student completed the literacy program at one of 14 sites where tutors utilize the Reading A-Z program to help improve reading fluency. Reading Champions tutors presented their students with a certificate of achievement, Reading Champions medal and book at each site location ceremony. The Reading Champions program is in its ninth year and 137 trained tutors volunteered at 14 locations, 10 public elementary schools and four after school programs. read more...

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...

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