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Literacy Program Rewards Reading Youth with New Bikes

by Alvernia University

Aug 06, 2021

Alvernia’s Reading Youth Initiative organizes second annual Books for Bikes

With the support of Customers Bank, the Alvernia University Holleran Center for Community and Global Engagement distributed 90 bicycles and helmets to students in the center’s Reading Youth Initiative Summer School program as a reward for their dedication to summer literacy and education programming.

“Through our Reading Youth Initiative, we are dedicated to supporting literacy efforts of students throughout Reading,” said Alvernia Vice President for Community Engagement Rudy Ruth. “Keeping students engaged in learning throughout the summer, especially with all the interruptions caused by COVID-19, is critical to their development, and we are happy to be a pathway for their continued education.”

In addition to the bicycles and helmets that were distributed at Millmont and Tyson-Schoener Elementary Schools, each student received 10 books to build their home library. Students with 75% attendance in Summer School and the accompanying daily literacy activities earned the awards courtesy of Customers Bank. Students also received prizes for additional at-home reading.

“Customers Bank has always prioritized developing programs and initiatives to improve and strengthen the communities in which we operate, and that begins with assisting the educational development of our future business leaders,” stated Sam Sidhu, Customers Bank’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “Awarding young learners with new bikes and helmets reinforces the importance of learning and rewards them for their accomplishments.”

The Reading Youth Initiative aims to promote continued education, mentoring and support for healthy choices in children who live or go to school in the Greater Reading area.

Since its inception in the summer of 2006, the Reading Youth Initiative has interacted with more than 1600 youth, providing annual summer camps, after-school mentoring and educationally enriching programs during the academic year and a variety of cultural activities including museum visits, sporting events and educational field trips all within the Greater Reading and Philadelphia area.

Rooted in the Franciscan identity of Alvernia University and its mission as a teaching and learning institution, the Holleran Center for Community and Global Engagement identifies, cultivates and sustains strategic partnerships to strengthen both campus and community life. By making these community partnerships an essential part of the curriculum, the Holleran Center strives to foster the university’s mission and improve the quality of life in the community and to develop in its students a lifelong commitment to service as engaged citizens.

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