United Way of the Plains and Wichita State University men’s basketball team up to fight for childhood literacy

WICHITA, Kan., Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021 – United Way of the Plains and the Wichita State University men’s basketball program are joining forces with Coaching for Literacy to fight for local childhood literacy. WSU will be hosting the #Fight4Literacy game against Houston this Thursday, Feb. 18, to raise funds and awareness for United Way’s local literacy efforts.

63% of third grade students in Kansas are not reading at grade level. Students who are not reading at grade level by fourth grade are four times more likely to drop out of school.

“Illiteracy is a major problem that affects our entire community,” said Isaac Brown, WSU men’s basketball interim head coach. “We’re honored to join Coaching for Literacy in their quest to raise awareness and generate financial support for local literacy programs.”

To encourage children in south central Kansas to develop a love of reading before they even start school, United Way of the Plains sponsors Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. This program sends children from birth to five years old a new, age-appropriate book, free of charge in the mail every month. Also, in collaboration with USD 259 – Wichita Public Schools, United Way’s Women United affinity group organizes community volunteers to coach third-grade students who are struggling with their reading skills. These Read to Succeed coaches meet weekly with a student to listen to them read and provide intervention tactics to help them improve their skills to get on track and stay on track.

“Grooming strong readers when they are young is an investment in our collective future,” said Pete Najera, United Way of the Plains President and CEO. “We are grateful to WSU for their partnership to harness the caring power of our community to fight for every child to reach their potential.”

Donations received through #Fight4Literacy will be used to purchase and distribute age-appropriate books, supplies and other resources through multiple programs to help children in our local schools become stronger readers.

Thousands of dollars in matching funds have been provided by Coaching for Literacy. Donate online at unitedwayplains.org/literacy or mail a check, made payable to United Way of the Plains with “Fight 4 Literacy” in the memo line, to 245 N. Water St., Wichita, KS 67202.

The WSU vs. Houston #Fight4Litearcy game will air Thursday, Feb. 18, on ESPN2 at 6 p.m.


MEDIA CONTACT: Kindra Goertzen, Creative Manager, United Way of the Plains, (316) 267-1321, kgoertzen@unitedwayplains.org


Published On: February 17, 2021


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