Letters and Opinion

Making a difference, one child at a time

September 4, 2010

“It was gratifying to see his reading skills develop as he applied what he had learned throughout the year.”

It’s not uncommon to hear that kind of comment at our company. Why are natural-gas-marketing employees talking about reading?

ProLiance partners with United Way of Central Indiana to support ReadUp, the innovative tutoring program started three years ago. ReadUp is a response to the startling truth that more than 30 percent of our community’s fourth-graders are two or more years behind in reading. Without intervention, many of these students will never catch up and are at high risk to drop out.

This year, United Way will match 1,500 volunteer tutors with third-, fourth- and fifth-graders who could find themselves at such a critical turning point.

About 20 percent of our Indianapolis employees tutor. Others support ReadUp through book, clothing and coat drives. Our company also helped with the program’s startup costs.

Why do we do it? Because the future of those children—and of our community—is at stake, and we can make a difference. For employees, participating in the program has many rewards, offering volunteers an opportunity:

• to get involved in the community without sacrificing family time. ProLiance offers employees paid time off to volunteer during school hours,

• to know co-workers better. Most share a tutoring slot with someone outside their department,

• to change a child’s life, often with instant feedback.

ReadUp works! Children who are not reading at grade level are able to catch up. Those still lagging get another chance by continuing with the program. While seeing individual improvement is gratifying, tutors say that knowing the program is making an overall difference also matters.

Supporting ReadUp helps us fulfill our commitment to this community today while also investing in its future.

For employees, ReadUp helps make work “more than a job.” Today’s workers are looking for community-minded companies. Encouraging employees to participate in ReadUp and other community activities helps us recruit and retain quality employees.

But something much bigger is at stake: our community’s future. For our community to thrive, we must help children come to school ready to learn, offer them academic and social support throughout school, and help them graduate as a building block for better lives.

Helping children succeed is everyone’s job. We hope your company agrees. Please visit Readupindy.org or call 925-READ to get involved.
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John R. Talley
President
ProLiance Energy LLC

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