Dollar General provides support for Boys and Girls Club summer literacy program

John Thompson • May 14, 2019 at 8:17 PM

ELIZABETHTON — A recent gift to the Boys & Girls Club of Elizabethton/Carter County will be used to help local boys and girls maintain their level of reading proficiency during their summer vacation from school.

The grant to the club from the Dollar General Literary Foundation was part of $8.3 million in literacy grants awarded to areas of 44 states where Dollar General maintains stores or warehouses. More than $2 million of the literacy grants went to Tennessee nonprofit organizations, libraries and schools, including five Boys and Girls Cubs across the state.

“In keeping with Dollar General’s mission of serving others, we are excited to provide grants to support literacy and education initiatives in the communities we proudly call home,” said Todd Vasos, Dollar General’s CEO and Dollar General Literacy Foundation board member. “Each year, funds provided by the Dollar General Literacy Foundation make a real difference by providing the tools that students, adults and families need to pursue new opportunities and accomplish their goals. We believe these programs empower the communities we serve, and we are honored to play a role in their success.”

Elizabeth Williams, resource development and marketing director for the Boys & Girls Club of Elizabethton/Carter County, said the grant will be put to good use this summer.

“Our Dollar General Literacy Grant will support Summer Brain Gain: READ and SPIRE.” She said the Summer Brain Gain is a national Boys & Girls Club program designed to prevent summer learning loss and keep the club members mentally active during their summer break.

“It is integrated into our summer program through fun, age appropriate activities. SPIRE is supported by Dollar General and the United Way/Ballad Health Literacy Fund. SPIRE is a research-proven reading intervention program designed to help our struggling readers get on track during their summer months. We ran this program for the first time last summer through a gift from Jason and Michelle Witten and their SCORE Foundation, and we are so excited to be able to continue it this summer through the support of these organizations.

The club plans to target 60 rising first- through fourth-grade club members for the SPIRE program.These members are not reading on grade level.

“We were really pleased with the results from last summer, and we know we can achieve even more by continuing the program this year, Williams said. “Again, SPIRE is designed (like Summer Brain Gain) to fit within our 12-hour summer program and is strategically ran so that the kids participating don’t miss out on all the other fun activities going on. Participating club members will get these additional resources while still going on field trips, playing pool, doing fine arts, and all the other things that go into our summer program.”

“Without the support of the community, there is no way we would be able to operate. During our summer months, we will average around 175 kids a day who come from all over Carter County and even some from Washington and Sullivan counties. We are open from 6:30 (a.m.) to 6:30 (p.m.). We serve breakfast, lunch, and snack. We host fun activities all day long and will probably take 100 field trips across all age groups. It’s an amazing experience for any child, and even though we keep our fees low to make it affordable, we still provide reduced rates for most of our families. In 2018, we provided around $100,000 in Financial Aid. If anyone would like to help make that possible, we need them! Our biggest fundraiser, Steak ‘n’ Burger is just around the corner to be held on Thursday, May 23. Those wanting to support the event can buy tickets at www.bgcecc.org/steaknburger. We also need volunteers and monthly donors! For more information, people can call 423-543-2946 or visit www.bgcecc.org.”

Anyone with additional questions may contact Williams at 423-543-2946 or [email protected]

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