The Chambers County School District in partnership with the Unite Incorporation was recently awarded a grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation. The Dollar General Literacy Foundation grant will award $4,000.00 towards curriculum, training and reading intervention for students. Additionally, the Unite Incorporation has committed $1,500.00 towards funding supplies and materials for the initiative.

Chambers County School District Superintendent, Casey Chambley was thrilled to share the news for the school system. Chambley added that the most important milestone in every student’s educational journey is reading proficiency on grade level. Mr. Chambley noted that this grant will help struggling students reach that milestone and continue to grow as lifelong learners. He is more than happy to begin this work in the initiative as well as being thankful with the partnership with Unite, Incorporation.

The Unite Inc. team celebrates virtually as they receive the news they are among 30 Alabama recipients of the Dollar General Literacy Foundation Youth Literacy Grant. Unite Inc. has provided programming in Chambers and Lee County for the past eight years that focuses on college preparation and career exploration, community engagement, and an annual HBCU college tour.

LaFayette High School teacher and educator, Ms. Precious White-Jordan partners with Unite Inc. to provide weekly programming to high school students and led the grant submission. “I was attracted to the grant because it was a great opportunity to provide more support for struggling readers in our community and to incorporate learning strategies that develop more fluency, decoding, and deeper comprehension” said Ms. White-Jordan.

The Youth Literacy grant will fund a new literacy program that provides intervention for students that read two or more levels below their grade level. Grant awardees may use the funds for technology or books, literacy materials, and software. The Dollar General Literacy Foundation was founded 30 years ago with a goal to help individuals of all ages pursue their educational goals and achieve their dreams by investing in literacy programs that help students learn to read, prepare for the high school equivalency, or learn English.

Unite Inc. Executive Director, Dr. Travis Smith, shared his excitement with the team about their upcoming literacy program that will be housed in the Unite community center scheduled for debut in January 2022. “It’s been an exciting year for Unite, we hope to reach at least 15 students in the community through the support of the Chambers County School District. Working together with our team, we hope to make a significant impact on local educational success and graduation rates” stated Dr. Smith.

Unite has been at the forefront of community initiatives in Chambers County Schools by providing direct financial support to the Chambers County School District by way of the local school initiatives, as well as partnering with local churches such as Powell Chapel UMC to provide supplies at the annual Back to School Bash, serving as an official partner with the Center for Outreach and Excellence at Auburn University K-12 programming, and promoting community education by facilitating voter education and providing COVID-19 education efforts.

During the 2021 school year, many students struggled to maintain their grades and complete assignments via virtual learning. Programs such as the Youth Literacy program are crucially important to ensure our students receive adequate support to proceed to the next grade level. Local teachers are excited about local partnerships with organizations like Unite that help to bridge the gap for vulnerable students. Ms. White-Jordan added that “As an Educator, I witness students that are genuinely trying to do their best in the classroom and I know from experience, a few more hours of reading and writing can make a difference in their performance.” The students at LaFayette High School pictured below will be served by this grant and initiative.