Get Your Community Involved and Sponsor a Local Energy Express Site
To sponsor an Energy Express site, a community coalition of parents, groups, and organizations develops a proposal, generated a required local match, and fills a variety of support roles—resulting in shared ownership, diversified funding, and program sustainability.
To apply for a site, more than 50 percent of the children in a school community must be eligible for free or reduced-price meals.
Energy Express is typically housed in school facilities that otherwise would stand empty during the summer. However, community centers and churches are also used in some areas.
During Energy Express, parents and community members are encouraged to support children in a variety of ways. Through home visits and personal contacts, mentors and volunteer coordinators invite parents to volunteer during the program. Some sites offer parents learning opportunities in supporting children’s learning, family nutrition, and parenting skills.
Many community members and service organizations donate their time and talents. Volunteers read aloud, help serve meals, take dictation from children, staff school offices, offer art activities, listen to children read, and share their special interests and experiences.
As part of their national service experience through AmeriCorps, mentors and volunteer coordinators at each site develop a group service project aimed at an identified community need—reading aloud for children at a local library, building a school’s playground open and safe for children during summer evenings.
State support for Energy Express comes from diverse partners. West Virginia University provides leadership in the development of a funding base and program delivery.
In 1997, Energy Express received the Joint Council of Extension Professionals Award for Excellence in Teamwork and the Council of State Governments Innovations Award. In 1998, Energy Express was selected as the America Reads Challenge ReadWriteNow! pilot site for the state of West Virginia.
These national awards recognize the efforts of Energy Express team members and partners, working together to meet the needs of children in rural and low-income West Virginia communities.