Last updated: July 17. 2013 1:47PM - 717 Views

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Kyle Lovern

Sports Editor

Energy Express, an award-winning statewide summer reading program, will kick off its sixteenth summer in Mingo County on Monday June 24, 2013 for students.

The program will serve more than 250 children in Mingo County, providing two meals a day and reading-based educational activities that help children maintain their reading skills and good nutrition during the summer months.

College students and community residents serving as AmeriCorps members support the program, which will take place from Monday through Friday, June 24 through August 2, at Dingess, Kermit, Riverside, Burch, Matewan, and Gilbert.

“Many children from low-income families fall behind, both nutritionally and academically, during the summer months,” said Mark Whitt, Associate Professor for WVU Extension Service. “This program ensures that they receive good nutrition and stay involved in fun and educational activities. Energy Express has been shown to help children not only maintain their reading skills during the summer, but often to actually improve them.”

“We depend on support from the local community to make this program a success,” said Whitt. “We need local volunteers to read with the children, to help serve meals, and to donate supplies for the program.”

Major funding for Energy Express comes from the West Virginia University Extension Service, the West Virginia Commission for National and Community Service, the Summer Food Service Program through the West Virginia Department of Education, the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts, and Mingo County BOE and excess levy funds.

In addition to these state partners, there is also a tremendous amount of local support for the program at each site. Whitt further states “In Mingo County this program provides free transportation and meals for our youth as well as 69 jobs by hiring college students as (mentors), teachers as (site coordinators), Community Coordinators, Teen Coordinator, Cooks, Custodians, County Contact, and Bus Drivers.

“This is made possible by a positive collaboration of the Mingo County Board of Education, Mingo County Community Action Partnership (CAPS), Mingo County 4-H, and WVU Extension Service in Mingo County. I am proud to say that these agencies work for the betterment of our youth as we continue to strive to make each and every child a productive citizen in our workforce,” Whitt concluded.

For more information, to volunteer, or to donate supplies or money for the program, call Whitt at 304- 235- 2692, ext. 2, Yvonne Quinn at 304-235-1701 or visit any of the sites Monday through Friday.

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