Based upon his professional experience, Judge Geno Salmone of the 23rd District Court in Taylor drew a direct correlation between students who fell behind in school and the high probability they would wind up in the criminal justice system.
Rather than allow the pattern to continue, Salmone and a group of volunteers formed the Taylor Reading Corps in 2011. The nonprofit organization, in tandem with numerous corporate partners, foundations, and community groups, set out to ensure every student in the school district — from preschool to third grade — could read and write proficiently.
“We work with the students 30 minutes each week on their reading and learning skills, and we have a summer reading program so the students don’t loose their skill sets,” says Lori A. Hill-Sanders, executive director of the Taylor Reading Corps. “We have more than 200 volunteers.”
The organization also runs a leadership program for high school students, operates an after-school program offering homework assistance, and counsels new parents on the importance of reading to their child.
Corporate partners include Atlas Oil, AT&T, PNC Financial Services, Wal-Mart, Wade Trim, Target, Fritz Enterprises, UAW, and McKinley Associates Inc.
“We’d like to expand the after-school program to two days a week, and we continue to recruit, train, and sustain our network of volunteers,” Hill-Sanders says.
“We’re very grateful for the support of our partners, the Taylor Rotary Club, and the grants we receive. And we’re always looking for more support.” db