WEST HARTFORD, CONN. (October 24, 2022) – The Liberty Bank Foundation recently presented a $25k grant in support of Children’s Reading Partners (CRP), a literacy program offered by the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford for educationally at-risk students throughout the Greater Hartford area.
Prior to the pandemic, 30% of Connecticut’s students were already reading at below basic level, based on results from the 2019 National Assessment of Educational Progress fourth-grade reading test. Not surprisingly, recent data released by the state Department of Education for 2020-2021 indicates that students across Connecticut have lost ground academically, underscoring an even greater need for mentoring programs like that offered by CRP. For 25 years, CRP has addressed the alarming rates of childhood illiteracy by offering one-on-one reading mentoring. Programming continued at 15 sites during the pandemic, 12 partner schools, one enrichment program, and two public libraries. Reading sessions were scheduled virtually when students were not in school buildings and in person when students returned to classrooms.
Liberty Bank Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Connecticut-based Liberty Bank, offered the grant as part of their ongoing effort to assist low- and moderate-income families throughout the Greater Hartford area improve their economic situation and quality of life. Federation’s CRP targets a similar audience, with a focus on pre-K through 5th grade students in mostly Title I schools. The program recruits, vets, and trains volunteers to read with students individually at schools and public libraries, developing long-term relationships with students that empower them to become more confident and motivated readers. In addition to mentoring services, CRP gifts a new book to every student who participates, as well as to students’ classrooms.
Over the past few years, the ongoing pandemic has significantly impacted literacy skills and classroom learning, according to Director Ronni Breiter. Due to the grant from the Liberty Bank Foundation, the significant decrease in student and volunteer numbers will now be addressed, allowing CRP to recruit more volunteers and serve more students in the area. “We are so grateful to the Liberty Bank Foundation for helping to make our future work possible,” said Breiter.
According to Rose Rose, literacy leader at Laurel Elementary School in Bloomfield, CT, CRP’s volunteers have been instrumental in boosting literacy and a love for reading with their student population. “This program is helping to fill the achievement gap,” said Rose. “Our readers and non-readers develop the joy of reading with an attentive adult [who allows them to] read, retell a story, and practice their sight word vocabulary.”
Since 1997, Children’s Reading Partners, part of the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford, has served at-risk school students in Greater Hartford regardless of their religious background. Volunteers of all faiths and backgrounds are welcome. Learn more at www.jewishhartford.org/childrens-reading-partners.
About the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford
The Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford protects and enhances the well-being of Jews worldwide through the values of tikkun olam (repairing the world), tzedakah (charity and social justice) and Torah (Jewish learning).
About the Liberty Bank Foundation
Since its inception in 1997, the Liberty Bank Foundation has awarded more than $15 million in grants to nonprofit organizations within Liberty Bank’s market area. The foundation seeks to improve the quality of life for people of low or moderate income by investing in three areas: education to promote economic success for children and families, affordable housing, and nonprofit capacity building.
Above: The Liberty Bank Foundation presented Children Reading Partners, an initiative of the Jewish Community Relations Council and part of the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford, with a $25k grant in support of their work with educationally at-risk students throughout the Greater Hartford area. From left: Ronni Breiter, Children’s Reading Partners director; John K. Jepson, Jr., Liberty Bank first vice president, commercial lending; and Dana Keller, chair of the board for Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford.