United Way ‘Mission Acceleration Program’ helps students get back on track

United Way of Southeast Mississippi explains what impact their program, Mission Acceleration Program, has had on the students in the Hattiesburg community.
Published: Jan. 24, 2022 at 5:39 PM CST
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HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - It’s no question, COVID-19 has led to students spending extended periods of time out of the classroom.

United Way of Southeast Mississippi has adopted a program called The Mission Acceleration Program to help students get back on track with their learning.

Kari Lynn Somers, who is the United Way Director of Community Impact, says this program has helped the students in the Hattiesburg community in a big way.

“It’s a program based in research to help improve literacy and create a large increase in reading growth. And so that’s why its Mission Acceleration is because we are looking to really improve reading scores on a fast-track level in response to the learning loss that happened during the pandemic,” said Somers.

This K-5 program is currently offered for children enrolled at First Star Academy, Tunjia’s Little One’s Center and TJ’s Learning Center in Hattiesburg.

“We have specialized scripts and kits based off whether or not they are in kindergarten or in 5th grade. They have reading time, they have a digital library that is kind of like a Netflix for books. They have different books that are on their reading level that they can read on their Chrome books. They can download and read them offline at home if they don’t have access to the internet,” said Somers.

College students are welcome to reach out if they are interested in becoming a tutor as long as they have a 3.2 GPA or higher, complete a background check and commit to providing at least 10 hours of tutoring per semester.

“The actual tutors that are working with the students, might get their wipe-off boards out and do underline the different constant combinations and what sounds that makes and working through syllables,” said Somers.

Tutors who are chosen will also get a stipend per semester.

“In the 10 weeks that they worked with those 22 kiddos and over 20,000 minutes of time together, we saw four months of reading growth in just 10 weeks on average for those 22 kids,” said Somers.

For more information on the Mission Acceleration Program, you can click HERE.

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