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Reading and Mentoring Programs

Participation in several different reading and mentoring programs is another of the many ways the United States Attorney’s Office works to prevent crime. The goals of reading and mentoring programs are to give students a better chance for success in school and expand their life horizon..

Everybody Wins! Power Lunch Reading Program

United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates (right) with Jill Daly, Executive Director, Everybody Wins! Atlanta

Power Lunch is a unique literacy and mentoring initiative.  Volunteer mentors read to students who are performing below grade level, during their lunch hour, in an effort to improve the students’ reading skills and foster a love of reading.  By the end of third grade, children must transition from learning to read to reading to learn. According to the National Research Council, a person who is not at least a moderately skilled reader by third grade is unlikely to graduate from high school. Children who read below grade level struggle to keep up with the pace of learning in the classroom, exhibit more behavioral and social problems in school, and have higher rates of repeating grades.

According to The National Assessment of Educational Progress (2010), only two out of three fourth graders in the United States are proficient in reading.  In Georgia, the situation is worse where less than oneout of three fourth graders is proficient in reading.

To combat the problem, during the 2013-2014 school year, United States Attorney’s Office staff members served as Power Lunch Reading Mentors at two Atlanta Public Schools: Bethune Elementary School and Hope-Hill Elementary School.  In total, 14 employees contributed 161 hours of service.  Twenty (20) United States Attorney’s Office staff members are serving as Power Lunch Reading Mentors during the 2014-2015 school year.

Debra Matthews, Human Resource Officer, reading to a student at Bethune Elementary School

United States Attorney’s office staff at Everybody Wins! Atlanta 2013-2014 Year-End Celebration for Power Lunch Reading Mentors at Bethune Elementary School. (R to L) AUSA Karlyn Hunter , AUSA Neeli Ben-David,  Paralegal Specialist Marti Goldring, Community Outreach Specialist Danielle Sweat, Paralegal Specialist Jamie Beck, Human Resource Officer Debra Matthews, Legal Assistant Tonzja Cherry, Human Resources Intern Denise Jones, Justin York, with mother Paralegal  Specialist Jean York.  Justin is a decorated Boy Scout, who collected and donated a large number of books for the reading program and with the help of his troop members, built and donated two book carts.

Mayor’s Summer Reading Club

Mayor's Summer Reading Club

During the summer of 2014, the United States Attorney’s Office participated in the Atlanta's Mayor Summer Reading Club.  The Mayor’s Summer Reading Club is a public-private partnership designed to improve vocabulary and literacy skills. The reading club is for children from birth to eight years of age and their families. The goals of the reading club are to engage the community in encouraging children to continue reading and learning during the summer, to encourage families to instill literacy as a core value in the home, and increase family awareness of the importance of reading with their children every day.

AUSA and Major Crimes Deputy Chief Katherine Hoffer, Paralegal Specialist Tammy Black, Student Volunteer Kimberly Wright,  Community Outreach Specialist Danielle Sweat, Atlanta Bar Association Summer Law Intern Jalen Coleman with 5-6 years old girls at Carver Family YMCA Summer Camp on July 15, 2014.

The reading club designates a city-wide book choice for infants, a book for children ages 2-4, and one for children ages 5-8. The books are given to reading club participants and their families at no cost.  From July 14, 2014 through July 18, 2014, twenty-eight staff members from the United States Attorney’s Office traveled to The Villages at Carver Family YMCA (Slater Elementary School) and read the book “Nothing Ever Happens on 90th Street” to more than 100 boys and girls ages 5 to 8 years old.

Class of 7-8 years old boys at Carver Family YMCA Summer Camp on July 16, 2014, thanking Mayor Reed for their book “Nothing Ever Happens on 90th Street.”

Updated April 17, 2015