Hometown Hero: Read United Day volunteers

Published: Feb. 27, 2023 at 3:25 PM EST
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - New voices. New stories. The same sense of giving all across the Coastal Empire.

Hundreds of community volunteers went back to school Friday, visiting classrooms to read to Pre-K through second grade students on the United Way of the Coastal Empire’s Read United Day, the culmination of a year-round program to encourage reading in elementary school children.

“It is so important for our children to be exposed to reading and to learn to read during this time in their lives. This is a time of their fastest brain development, so we want to capture that,” Savannah-Chatham Superintendent Dr. Ann Levett said.

Lawyers, engineers, bankers and technicians took time out of their day to give back to the youngest members of the community in Chatham, Bryan, Effingham and Liberty counties, sharing stories and showing how reading fuels all education.

“Reading is more than reading a story. It helps with vocabulary and articulation. It takes you so far. It helps build your imagination, just the creator in you to take you to a level you didn’t know you could go to.”

“It’s key to the development of children, even from a very, very, very young age. They need to be read to, taught to read. They need books to read.”

And the United Way provided them on Read United Day. Each WTOC Hometown Hero volunteer left a book for the classroom and gave each student a book to take home - 19,000 books provided to kids at 60 schools through the Read United Program. And on the biggest Read United Day yet.

“Just watching their faces, they were so excited. It was the best part of their day.”

“It was great. The kids were funny, they laughed, they hugged me when I was done. It was wonderful.”

“Read United is very important. I’m glad we could do this for the community. I hope it continues to grow.”