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United Way of West Tennessee’s Awarded a Grant to Start Rockabilly Readers Program

The Community Foundation of West Tenn. recently awarded United Way of West Tenn. a $4,000 grant to launch a new program with the Jackson Rockabillys baseball team called Rockabilly Readers. United Way was one of seven local organizations to receive grant funding.

Rockabilly Readers will serve as a fun reading incentive program for children and comes at a crucial time, especially as the new third-grade retention law increases the academic pressure felt by many schools and students. While programs like The READ Team focus on building literacy skills, Rockabilly Readers will aim to celebrate and encourage independent reading among elementary-aged students, particularly those who are five to eight years old.

“We are thrilled with the partnership of United Way and the Community Foundation of West Tenn. that allows us to launch the Rockabilly Readers program,” said Lisa Bastien, Jackson Rockabillys’ Executive VP. “Supporting literacy in our schools and providing a fun foundation to build and promote reading in young students is something we are proud to be a part of. We look forward to building a relationship with students and our school community.”

Alongside their parents, readers will set a monthly reading goal based on time spent reading or number of books read. Reading logs provided by United Way will allow readers to track their goals and return the logs each month to receive a prize such as t-shirts, yard signs, and other fun motivators. 

“We are excited for the Rockabillys to bring baseball back to Jackson and grateful for their desire to invest in the community,” said Olivia Abernathy, Senior Director of the Office of Childhood Success. “The Rockabilly Readers will be a fun way to encourage our students in their literacy skills while connecting them to important community partners like the Rockabillys baseball team.” 

Alongside Jackson Rockabillys, this program will be conducted in partnership with elementary schools in Jackson/Madison County. Parents of homeschooled children can enroll their students in this program as well.

More details to follow in preparation for this upcoming academic year. For general questions related to the program and community partnership, email oabernathy@unitedway.tn.org.

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