Submitted by: Adrienne Jacoby, Ed.D. – Executive Director, Philadelphia READS
For fifteen years PHILADELPHIA READS has gathered about 3,500 volunteers every year to mentor and tutor Philadelphia neediest and most wonderful children weekly. The Power Partner volunteers come from some of the largest businesses and law firms in the city as well as the court system, other non-profit organizations and just everyday citizens who want to do good deeds. They are our city’s supermen and women. Children in the program have made tremendous gains. For example, in September a first grade class had only 35% of its children reading at grade level. By the end of the year 70% were reading on grade level.
As an educator, I know the largest factor in achievement is the teacher, however, when another first grade class in the same school without the extra support of Philadelphia READS had only 57% of the students reading on grade level at the end of the year, we know the Power Partner program is highly successful. We have never waited for “Superman” for we know that the only way we can improve education is if everyone pitches in to help the children and organizations such as PHILADELPHIA READS provide the opportunities for this to happen.
With the help and support of the Philadelphia’s business community, and committed citizens PHILADELPHIA READS has gathered and given out over one million donated books from the children’s book bank and put them into the hands of Philadelphia children. In classes where the teachers have taken advantage of the book bank, the majority of teachers report that reading levels have improved because of the increase access to books. The books come from the caring and committed Philadelphia area public, small and large businesses, and wealthier school districts. Teams of volunteers from universities and large businesses come to the book bank and help sort and shelve books.
Hundreds of volunteers come out every year to be moderators for the PHILADELPHIA READING OLYMPICS where about 2000 children from public, charter, parochial and private schools come to compete as to their knowledge of twenty pre-assigned books.
In today’s society, education is one of the primary means through which young people realize their potential as individuals and as citizens. The city is filled with great businesses that care and do something about it.
Below is a list of businesses and civic groups that have supported our programs. They are our good deed doers. Thank you all:
American Executive Center
Ballard Spahr LLP*
Bank of America*
Blank Rome LLP*
Board of Pensions, Presbyterian Church USA
Brown Stone Nimeroff LLC
Centacor Ortho Biotech Services