United Way of Porter County, 1st Source Bank and Thomas Jefferson Middle School Work Together to Bring the Joy of Reading to Children

By: Kyle Hovanec Last Updated: June 25, 2015

The United Way of Porter County has begun their pilot ‘Kinder Kamp’ program to prepare children entering into kindergarten this fall with the skills they need to be successful.

The program is a collaboration between 1st Source Bank, the United Way of Porter County and Thomas Jefferson Elementary School. Financial contribution is provided by by 1st Source Bank which allowed UWPC to add two classes at the Thomas Jefferson Elementary School. 1st Source will also sponsor three classes beginning June 29 at Myers Elementary in Portage Township.

“Some of our kids come to their first day of school not ready. It’s not just knowing the alphabet, but also the ability to line up and follow a schedule and to sit still and listen and follow directions.” said David Muniz, Principal of Thomas Jefferson Elementary School.

“The beautiful component is that the Kinder Kamps will be taught by kindergarten teachers using the curriculum already being used in the schools,” said Kim Olesker, Regional Director for United for Children, a United Way Collaborative Initiative.

Out of the 60 families interested in the program, it was narrowed to 40 children due to funding limitations. Children who are part of the program have access to bus transportation and the summer meal program, giving them breakfast and lunch each day along with an enthusiastic and highly qualified staff of teachers.

Reading is a strong component of the Kinder Kamps. Leveraging a strong relationship with Scholastic, the 1st Source grant allowed for books to be purchased so that the students can bring books home for their personal library and colorful and functional backpacks to start their year off correctly.

“Reading is so fundamental to a child’s success in school. Verbal, cognitive, and imaginative skills build with each book read,” states Sharon Kish, President, United Way of Porter County. “There is nothing more important than getting the kids off to a great start.”

The United Way of Porter County and 1st Source Bank understand the importance of building a fundamental love and respect for reading at an early age and along with Thomas Jefferson, hopes to create a trend that will continue to enrich the lives of children long after their childhood.