Urban Connections is a nonprofit organization is located in an area identified ‘low performing’ due to not having 75 percent of students pass statewide tests in reading and math in grades 3-5. The majority of the students live in poverty and do not have access to many resources and supports outside of school.
Urban Connections, today’s Daily Point of Light Award winner, recognizes this need and visits two different schools once a week to provide reading tutoring and mentoring for one hour. This reading buddy program not only helps student improve and achieve their goals in reading but also serves as a mentoring program, giving students a mentor that they see weekly helping them to have a positive outlook not only about themselves but about the work that they can accomplish.
Urban Connections works collaboratively with the school to provide ongoing training for recruited volunteers ensuring that the program remains focused on goals of increasing reading achievement for students. Urban Connections works with approximately 43 third grade students at their school last year and saw an 11 percent increase in the school’s third grade reading scores.
What began in 1999 with a Vacation Bible School in a vacant lot run by volunteers has grown today into an organization that address broader-based community needs.