I believe community service has potential to change the world. I also believe that Nelson Mandela was right when he stated that education is truly the most powerful weapon one can use to change the world. Energizing Education is a prime example of both of these statements right in my hometown of Jackson, Michigan.
It was only about two years ago that I heard about Energizing Education. When I heard about what they were doing, I was floored. I had been serving on the community service committee for Jackson’s newly minted Jackson Young Professionals organization. This resulted, in turn, with me eventually serving on the board for our local United Way.
In 2012, Energizing Education was launched in partnership with our local United Way with the intent to ensure that all students in our community read at or above grade level by the end of 3rd grade.
They did this because they knew that students who read proficiently beyond 3rd grade are 4 times more likely to graduate from high school.
The proven effects they have had on our community have been compelling. For instance, in 2014-15:
- 154 Mentors & 149 Students = 1,442 hours of reading together.
- 35 family nights = 8,821 parents & children engaged.
- 99% of EE students improved at least one reading level.
- The average improvement was 6.82 reading levels.
Learn more about the good work Energizing Education is doing by viewing this video:
When I first found out about what what Energizing Education was up to, I wanted to volunteer right away, but have had challenges making that a reality due to my work schedule and commute. So, instead, I decided I would try to at least help get the word out about what they are doing. At that time, I decided to create a video to help promote them as a volunteer opportunity for Jackson Young Professionals. I botched the audio in the process. Oops. Anyway, you get the point and I got wind at the time that this video was helpful for a handful of people who watched it and were unaware of Energizing Education right in our back yard.
Now, when Angela Gunder first brought this idea of four years of service to us, I knew that the first non-profit service organization I wanted to focus on was Energizing Education. I think they are one of Jackson’s lesser known gems. I am glad to promote what they are doing because other communities could benefit from emulating and learning from their approaches. I also think that supporting public education’s important work of literacy in our society is a noble cause to get behind.
This time, I thought my service project for them could be to apply for an Aquent Design for Good grant. Doing so will hopefully raise about $5,000 for them to give their website and promotional materials an upgrade. Wish me luck! Below is my video submission for this grant opportunity.
What I am learning in all of this in the first month of this #4YoS endeavor is that it is possible to support and assist with community service efforts even if one has limitations of time, distance and resources to participate in the volunteer opportunities. You may not be able to give and support in the conventional ways, but don’t let that get in the way of doing what you can.
Thank you, Energizing Education, for your service to my community.
You make this world a better place to live every day.
How to Get Involved
If you are interested in learning more, getting involved and learning how to give to Energizing Education, please view their website page on this topic.
Were you inspired by this story? Make a matching donation of time, resources or money to Energizing Education on behalf of Dave's service journey. You can list your contribution using our Make a Matching Gift of Service form.