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UVU, United Way Of Utah County Team Up For Multi-Year Literacy And Numeracy Community Engagement Project

4 December 2012 No Comment

December 4, 2012
For Immediate Release

University Marketing & Communications: Mike Rigert (801) 863-6807
Written by: Matt Reichman (801) 863-6808

A multi-year literacy and numeracy project for K-12 youth is officially underway for Utah Valley University and United Way of Utah County. The partners kicked off The University Project for Civic Engagement on Monday afternoon at the South Franklin Community Center in Provo, Utah.

This initiative will be a core fixture of the University Project for Civic Engagement going forward. This particular K-12 endeavor is the first of several mini-projects UVU will launch to address many challenges facing communities within UVU’s service region.

“Can you imagine a world where only a select few know how to read and do math?” Cameron Martin, vice president for university relations, asked the kickoff audience. “Now imagine a world where everybody can. It’s a much happier place; a much happier vision.”

At the kickoff, UVU President Matthew S. Holland, Bill Hulterstrom, executive director of United Way of Utah County, and other UVU representatives key to the project each took a moment to emphasize the significance of reading and math skills among the community’s young learners — with President Holland even pulling out his dog-eared copy of “Meet Thomas Jefferson,” a book given to him by his parents that ignited his passion for learning early on, he said.

“If we get these children reading and writing on level by the third grade, it makes all the difference in the world for them,” Holland said, citing the correlation between illiteracy and dependency on the social welfare state.

Over the course of the campaign, students and faculty from more than a dozen UVU service-learning classrooms will be utilized to tutor youths. UVU students will work with a variety of university programs and departments and United Way programs to provide math and reading tutoring in elementary and junior high schools. Through collaboration with United Way, which runs a variety of volunteer programs focused on assisting youths, the project will be delivered to local schoolchildren through a subdivision of efforts and mini-projects, many of them involving the community and third-party organizations.

“The project is designed to marshal all the resources we have on campus … to really make an impact on the lives of young people,” said Brian Birch, UVU associate vice president for academic affairs.

At the end of the ceremony, in which Hulterstrom also presented UVU as the first member of United Way’s “EveryDay Learners” Honor Roll, dozens of schoolchildren sat in a semicircle around Holland as he read aloud from an oversized book titled “What If?” by A.H. Benjamin. Afterward, a group of UVU student mentors helped pick out new books for the children, who receive regular tutoring at South Franklin through UVU’s School University Community Partnership as one of the ongoing efforts within the larger University Project.

“We are engaging in a university-wide effort to turn the resources of the institution outward to address the serious problem of literacy and math attainment among youth in our service region,” Martin said. “We hope that by the end of the project we will have contributed more than 50,000 hours of service, making a positive impact on thousands of lives.”

For more information about UVU’s University Project for Civic Engagement, visit www.uvu.edu/universityproject or contact Luke Peterson, director of corporate and community partnerships, at 801-863-8899.

UVU President Matthew S. Holland reads to Provo area youth at the South Franklin Community Center

Provo area youth and tutors look through books they were given at the South Franklin Community Center

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About UVU

Utah Valley University is located in Orem, Utah and is home to more than 30,000 students. UVU began as a vocational school during World War II, and in the seven decades since has evolved into a technical school, community school, state college and, finally a comprehensive regional teaching university. UVU is one of Utah’s largest institutions of higher learning and offers programs ranging from career training to high-demand master degrees, with emphasis on undergraduate education.

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