A news conference to showcase the Ruth Rales Comcast Kids Reading Network and encourage the participation of volunteer tutors will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, April 15, at Beall Elementary School. A tutoring session precedes the news conference at 10:00 a.m.
The event kicks off National Volunteer Week, which begins April 18.
A new three-year partnership with Comcast valued at $1 million will be announced. Comcast's support will help promote the Reading Network and recruit volunteers, and the company will commit financial resources to assist with volunteer training. The $1 million commitment will be fulfilled during a three-year period, and it will consist of money to support the program as well as production services and free airtime to promote the Reading Network. Support from the RFI Foundation announced in December 2004 made possible an expansion of the program from 30 to 56 targeted schools with the highest poverty rates.
Mr. Joshua Rales, president of the RFI Foundation, Mr. Craig A. Snedeker, Comcast of Montgomery area vice president and general manager, and Mr. Steve Silverman, member of the Montgomery County Council, are expected to participate in the press conference.
The Reading Network will help 840 Grade 2 students in 56 high-poverty schools learn to read fluently. On average, students in the program gain at least one grade level in reading fluency and comprehension by program completion. The program's success is due, in part, to the quality of books and materials provided and to the ongoing training the tutors receive.
Collaborators in the initiative also include the Montgomery County Council and the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services. Three nonprofit organizations, Interages, Inc.; George B. Thomas, Sr. Learning Academy; and Passion for Learning, Inc., will recruit volunteers to serve as reading tutors for this program.