Erie GAINS hosts reading club, supports higher education


According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment rates and average earnings are directly related to education. This is why Erie GAINS works with Erie Vital Signs, United Way and Erie Together to increase educational attainment and to improve literacy by grade three.

To increase the literacy rate a program in the summer of 2014 called “Reading Club” was created at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center. Students including Evan Cook were brought in for 10 weeks to mento, the kids and teach them to read.

Their main goal was to encourage the love of reading. According to Erika Ramalho, director of Community and Government Relations, to everyone’s surprise the students actually showed up and looked forward to Reading Club.

During the summer program, they read “The Giver” as a group and then went to see the movie when it premiered. After the end of the 10 weeks, something that was unexpected happened. The students asked if Reading Club could continue.

To help encourage reading in the neighborhoods, “Little Free Libraries” were created. There are now 10 throughout the community. Ramalho said that they are a success because they are almost always empty and people are always taking and adding books to them.

Some Gannon University students helped build these Little Free Libraries last year on Day of Caring.

Erie GAINS does more than just help improve literacy rates. There is also a push to get students into college. There is Go College — Gaining Options for College Collaboration — at Strong Vincent and East high schools. Ninety-eight percent of the people who participated in this program applied to college and about 96 percent were accepted.

There are also Erie-GAINS scholarships available. The scholarships are given to 25 inner-city students.

New in the fall of 2014 is the Gannon Archbishop Program. This covers all tuition free after FASFA financial aid and the State PHEAA grants.

There are a few requirements that applicants must meet. They must be a city of Erie graduate without any expected family contribution. Their GPA must be at least a 3.0 with SAT scores of 850 or an ACT score of 18.

According to GO College, graduates can make a $1 million more in their lifetime than non-college graduates.

Together Erie GAINS, Erie Vital Signs, United Way and Erie Together work to make it possible for all students to go to college and earn that money in their lifetime.



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