While University of Findlay tutors’ reading ability was ranked by their students from 1 to 4 on the last day of the Clubhouse’s summer session, a local business received a resounding “10” from all attendees!
Bluffton-based Shirley’s Gourmet Popcorn Company’s Findlay store presented a check for $3,455 to the Clubhouse, UF’s free literacy outreach service for kids in Hancock County and surrounding areas. The local business has a history of supporting children’s literacy and has used its own community fundraising program to help the Clubhouse continue to meet a growing demand for its services.
Clubhouse Director Allison Baer, Ph.D., says this most recent contribution from Shirley’s will support the CHIP Program, which offers free individual tutoring. The Clubhouse also provides free small group tutoring in the 3-2-1 Program, and The 1882 Club, which challenges participants to read 1,882 minutes in one UF semester.
Jennifer Swartzlander, who, with her husband Jason, is the Findlay store franchise owner, presented the check along with Tracy Waxler of the Shirley’s Popcorn organization. Swartzlander, working with Clubhouse staff, donated proceeds from all sales on Saturday, June 11 to the program.
Literacy – A Growing Need
According to Baer, the Clubhouse has served approximately 1,300 children in grades 1 through 9 in the past four years. Although donations are accepted, the tutoring services are free of charge to any parent who feels their child will benefit. Tutors are teacher education candidates in UF’s College of Education.
The Clubhouse holds sessions during all University of Findlay semesters, meeting in the evenings during the school year. The summer program meets in the mornings for ten sessions over three weeks. The program fills up quickly once registration is opened online and some students are put on a waiting list for when a spot becomes available.
At the close of each session, parents are given a pre- and post-assessment report of their child’s reading strengths and challenges. Although Baer is quick to point out that the assessment used in the Clubhouse isn’t the same as that which is used by the public school system, she encourages parents to share it with teachers and anyone involved in their child’s literacy education. She added that the Clubhouse works with area teachers and schools and is an important resource for struggling readers.
When Kids Read, We all Benefit
Area residents and businesses are encouraged to become members of the Clubhouse Library. As members, their contributions will help purchase more books, supplies and wages for qualified CHIP (Clubhouse Individual Program) tutors. There are several giving levels, but anyone contributing $26 or more will have their name placed on a bookshelf in the atrium of the University’s Davis Street Building. Anyone interested in the Clubhouse or in supporting its programs can contact Baer at firstname.lastname@example.org or the Office of University Advancement at 419-434-5334.