Feature photo: Vanessa Shields (center) with Women Leading the Way Members
Sold Out Windsor-Essex United Way Event Aids Children’s Literacy
Children growing up in low income may have less exposure to books, fewer opportunities to be read to, and are more likely to have a smaller vocabulary which impacts their success. On Wednesday, May 10, 2017, United Way/Centraide Windsor-Essex County’s Women Leading the Way hosted a sold out luncheon with the goal of helping children reach their full potential through the power of words.
For three years a diverse group of women in Windsor-Essex have come together to affect change by sharing their talents and time in an effort to help local families and children. This year the group chose to support childhood literacy at their annual Celebrating Women Who Inspire Us event. Guests were asked to contribute a gently used or new children’s book that will be donated to the children in United Way’s Summer Lunch Program.
The highlight of the event, which was sponsored by KPMG, was an inspirational keynote address from local author and poet Vanessa Shields. Shields has written and published numerous books and poems and shared her talents at the event with ‘Poetry on Demand’.
“Our mission today is to help children succeed in school, develop a love of reading and spark imaginations,” says Lynda Pizzolitto, Operations Manager at Reliance Home Comfort, and Chair of Women Leading the Way. “In addition to providing books to the Summer Lunch Program, members of Women Leading the Way hope to spend time with the kids over the summer leading some reading circles as well.”
“No child’s future should be determined by the circumstances they’re born into,” says Lorraine Goddard, CEO of United Way. “Women Leading the Way has done great work in the community to support families – they are committed to moving the needle on poverty reduction, in step with United Way. In addition to supporting students in our On Track to Success Program, today’s initiative is a great example of their leadership and commitment to Windsor-Essex.”