Make a joyful noise; raise money for UWCI’s ReadUP program
Some people love having a microphone and a captive audience. To others, that’s a terrifying prospect. It’s the same within the tech community. Some of Indiana’s tech luminaries are in their own garage bands and even play gigs from time to time, while others would never want anyone to hear them sing outside of their car or shower.
But even the most introverted among us can take part in the United Way of Central Indiana‘s Care-Oke competition, which besides showcasing vocal tech talent, raises money for the organization’s ReadUP program.
Hundreds of students have benefited from the ReadUP program since 2015. It operates in more than 25 schools across 15 school districts, charter and innovation school networks in six Central Indiana counties and is powered by more than 650 volunteers. ReadUP helps 3rd graders reach grade-level literacy and pass the English Language Arts portion of the state standardized assessment.
Volunteers read with students for an hour a week for 30 weeks during the school year and undergo a 90-minute training session. The students leave the program with increased confidence and a deepened love for reading.
Former ReadUP volunteer Lauren Petersen, TechPoint’s VP of Stakeholder Engagement, says it was one of most engaging volunteer experiences she’s done. And if you know Lauren’s volunteer resume, you know that’s saying a lot.
“My friend and colleague, Ali, signed up to volunteer with me,” Lauren said. “My mornings onsite at IPS 63 were more than simply reading alongside these students; they were filled with moments of encouragement, high fives when books were finished and remarkable growth as each boy progressed in their reading comprehension.”
By the end of the school year, Lauren said both boys were confidently and independently reading chapter books about animals, nature and magic tree houses.
“It was remarkable to see the transformation from how shy and timid both boys were at the beginning of the school year, reading quietly with their heads down, to quickly forging a bond through each session where they would smile and greet me by running towards me to exclaim ‘Miss Lauren, let’s read this book today!’” she continued. “For me, ReadUP wasn’t just about increasing the students’ reading comprehension abilities, but it was a highlight in each week that invigorated their belief in themselves, and instilled a strong hope for their future education. I would absolutely encourage those in the tech community to consider volunteering for readUP as it was one of the most impactful volunteer commitments I’ve experienced!”
3 Ways to Help ReadUP
- Volunteers are assigned by the UWCI to accommodate work schedules. If you’re ready to join the ReadUP program, visit https://www.uwci.org/readUP/.
- If you’re ready to sing for ReadUP’s supper, start here: https://www.uwci.org/careoke
- If singing in public isn’t your thing, support a crooner through their peer-to-peer fundraising site or donate directly.
Care-oke competitors are asked to commit to raising money in addition to showing off their vocal skills. Online submissions for the competition are due by October 10 at 5 p.m. On October 12, UWCI will select 20 of the acts to compete live on stage at the Old National Centre on October 19, 2021 at Deluxe Theatre, Old National Centre (502 N New Jersey St, Indianapolis, IN 46204).
In addition to covering tutoring costs, support for ReadUP helps United Way of Central Indiana train new mentors, stock school libraries, purchase supplies, and deliver books to students for continued at-home reading with family and friends.
“We must continue to close the achievement gap that underserved children traditionally experience — and that’s exactly what ReadUP volunteers help us do each year,” Shannon said.