To help schools and communities improve, United Way Worldwide has announced that it plans to recruit one million volunteer readers, tutors, and mentors.
The effort was prompted by a new report, Voices for the Common Good: American Speaks Out on Education, which found that 29 percent of Americans are concerned their children will drop out of school. Based on numerous focus groups and a national telephone survey, the report also found that Americans don't feel the problems of young people and education are confined to public schools. Most people believe that when you improve schools, you improve communities, and instilling values is as important to people as a solid education.
In response to the United Way's campaign, the United Way Women's Leadership Council, a network of nearly 50,000 women in 120 communities across the country, agreed to recruit 100,000 volunteers who will focus on early grade literacy. United Way Worldwide also is recruiting volunteers through its Web site.
"Few issues are as important as the national debate on our education systems, yet the voices of everyday people haven't been part of the conversation," said Brian Gallagher, president and CEO of United Way Worldwide. "United Way has been listening to the concerns of Americans across the country, and what we're hearing is that they care deeply about the success of the schools and young people in their communities, and they want to be involved."