Recent studies reveal that approximately 53 percent of fourth graders report reading recreationally almost every day – but that figure drops down to 20 percent by eighth grade.
At United Way for Greater Austin, we invest in Middle School Matters through our Target Graduation program because we know that middle school is a critical tipping point for student success and that literacy development, supported by self-directed reading, is one of the cornerstones of academic achievement.
Because the promotion of literacy is paramount to our mission, we’re thrilled to announce that Farmers Insurance Group generously funded a reading nook in the Mendez Middle School library!
In partnership with UWATX, Farmers donated more than 100 high-interest book titles to the library collection and added beanbag chairs, festive rugs and pillows and other décor to make the space more inviting. Farmers volunteers also held an on-site competition to create posters highlighting the new books.
On Thursday, March 12, Farmers volunteers spent the afternoon cataloguing the new books, arranging furniture, hanging posters and decorating the reading nook. The space was officially unveiled on Friday, March 13 at the Dove Springs Community Alliance meeting.
Located in Dove Springs, a low-income neighborhood in southeast Austin, Mendez Middle School serves as a key community resource for local families. More than eighty five percent of students in this area are economically disadvantaged, which poses barriers to opportunity and academic success for many of them.
By partnering with companies like Farmers Insurance Group, UWATX works to provide support for target campuses to move toward closing the achievement gap in underserved neighborhoods like Dove Springs, Manor and St. John’s.
Farmers Insurance Group continues to increase their community involvement with UWATX by running an employee giving campaign, actively engaging in the Insurance Industry Challenge and wrapping their arms around Mendez Middle School. In addition to their efforts with the reading nook, Farmers also recently funded and assembled more than 200 school supply kits for Mendez.