Through a combination of healthy breakfasts, lunches, and learning activities, the Energy Express program continues to improve the lives of children in Fayette County.

This year’s program began at Scarbro Head Start on Monday, June 17. More than 30 children from Fayette County will participate in the summer program which is brought to counties by the West Virginia University Extension Service and AmeriCorps.

The program is designed to provide learning opportunities and nutrition during the summer months, when children from low-income areas are most at risk for falling into the “summer slide.”

The summer slide occurs when children fall behind academically because they do not build or maintain their reading skills throughout the summer months.

Available at 80 sites statewide, the Energy Express program helps approximately 3,400 children who are entering first through sixth grades.

In addition to these state partners, county programs rely on a tremendous amount of local support. Local partners include Kroger in Oak Hill and the Oak Hill United Methodist Church.

Volunteers are needed from Fayette County to help read to children, serve meals, and donate supplies. Organizers say that children benefit from having familiar community faces at the program sites.

Children spend their days in a print-rich environment where they read, write, and create artwork. The benefits of Energy Express extend beyond the six weeks of summer. Each week every child receives a book to take home and keep.

Major funding for Energy Express comes from the WVU Extension Service. Volunteer WV — The State’s Commission for National and Community Service, the Summer Food Service Program through the West Virginia Department of Education.

Entering its 26th year, Energy Express is one of WVU Extension Service’s premier programs, uniting children and community members to make summer a time for food, fun, and learning, and for people in need.

For more information, to volunteer, or to donate supplies or money for the program, call Emma Pino, community coordinator, at Scarbro Head Start, 304-469-4511, or email Emma Pino at epino27@aol.com.

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