Reentry program alumni in New Jersey volunteered at Anne Street School in Newark in February as part of United Way’s Celebrity Read initiative to support local school-age children and reinforce the importance of reading. Alumni were joined by staff from Talbot Hall Residential Reentry Center in Kearny, members of the Newark Police Department and a former member of the NFL.
“As alumni we are committed to help children in the community by passing on a positive message about learning and staying in school,” GEO Reentry Services Alumni Manager Arthur Townes said. “We get a lot back from helping others and participating with the United Way was a very rewarding service. Thanks to all who participated.”
Volunteers each read a story to the first graders and enjoyed a morning of mingling with students and volunteers. United Way of Essex and West Hudson counties of New Jersey coordinates volunteers from the community to read to children, giving them the title “Celebrity Reader.” The initiative supports findings from the U.S. Department of Education that correlate an increase in young people’s reading scores to time spent reading for fun.
Members of GEO Reentry Alumni Services network gives former participants an opportunity to support reentry program newcomers and stay on their path to recovery through community service. The network also connects alumni to crucial community resources for ongoing mentorship, employment support, housing and educational programs and community service opportunities. Participation in Alumni Services is completely optional but has expanded to include several states.