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Alvernia’s Reading after-school program receives $200k gift

by Alvernia University

Feb 18, 2020

Photo: : Alvernia President John R. Loyack (left) and Customers Bank President and CEO Richard Ehst (right)

Customers Bank supports South Reading Youth Initiative for second consecutive year

Reading, Pa. – Alvernia University’s South Reading Youth Initiative has been awarded $200,000 in annual funding from Customers Bank. The longtime after-school enrichment program managed by the university’s Holleran Center for Community and Global Engagement pairs Alvernia faculty, staff and students with the Reading School District to provide educational enrichment and literacy services to more than 100 elementary students at Millmont and Tyson-Schoener elementary schools every day.

“Customers Bank once again demonstrates its support of Alvernia and our Franciscan mission to serve the underserved in the City of Reading,” said Alvernia President John R. Loyack. “The South Reading Youth Initiative continues to provide a pathway of success for both Reading elementary school students and their Alvernia mentors.”

Designed to enhance the established school curriculum, the South Reading Youth Initiative offers elementary school students literacy training, homework assistance, academic enrichment activities and mentoring programs. The South Reading Youth Initiative also provides annual summer camps and a variety of cultural activities, including museum visits, sporting events and educational field trips within the Greater Reading and Philadelphia areas. The program serves students from Millmont, Tyson-Schoener Elementary School and St. Peter School, where the program first launched.

“One of the greatest challenges facing our bank is finding a diverse, talented and well educated workforce,” said Richard Ehst, president and chief executive officer of Customers Bank. “That’s a challenge to businesses across Pennsylvania. Our investment in the South Reading Youth Initiative is an investment in ourselves; an investment in our future team members. Working with Alvernia we are developing college students and young learners who someday soon can be leaders in our bank.”

The continued funding from Customers Bank allows Alvernia to expand services to children during the school year and in the summer, add programs for upper elementary and middle school grades and hire professional staff for ongoing support, thus increasing the scale and quality of the program.

Alvernia students who help run the South Reading Youth Initiative gain real-world learning experiences working directly with children in the program and take advantage of the work-study employment opportunity.

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