Club Connect: An Early Literacy Investment

In 2015 United Way of Washtenaw County’s Emerging Philanthropists (Young Leaders Society at the time) partnered with Ypsilanti’s Erickson Elementary by investing $10,000 to promote a grade-level reading program called Club Connect. Funds supported the creation of a Reading Oasis in the school, stocked with over 1,000 books, and online out-of-school reading resources for students as well as parent engagement tools. A beautiful mural painted by teacher Stacy Schwartz is the cornerstone of the room.
Principal Kelly Mickel shared, “This opportunity enables us to further develop our school-wide culture of reading. The Reading Oasis is a special place for students and their families, a place where reading becomes a habit and students learn to be engaged and motivated readers.” 
The award also expands collaboration in the community that includes a new partnership between United Way of Washtenaw County, 826Michigan and the Ginsberg Center at the University of Michigan. This partnership will bring additional literacy and reading programming and volunteer support to Erickson Elementary. Through an additional grant investment by UWWC, Erickson students will have the opportunity to participate in 826Michigan literacy field trips and writing workshops.
“I am excited to announce that the Young Leaders Society launched our first Club Connect Reading Oasis at Erickson Elementary (which is part of Ypsilanti Community Schools) on Tuesday, April 26, in conjunction with an 826 Michigan writing workshop." Kate Weber, YLS Steering Committee Chair shared. “In addition to funding, our members are looking forward to volunteering at Erickson Elementary.”
In 2015-2016, 87 schools in 15 different states have adopted Club Connect. More than 46,000 books have been donated and 43,500 students impacted.