Program aids area children

Energy Express is wrapping up its 15th year of trying to make reading sound like a fun summer activity for Hancock County students and those throughout the Mountain State.

And it appears the program – one geared toward children living in rural and low-income communities- is succeeding.

The 2014 program, expected to reach 3,000 students, statewide, this summer alone, started June 23 and wraps up Friday.

More than 80 county children enrolled in this summer’s program, which attempts, throughout a six-week course, to prevent the “summer slide” for children entering grades 1-6. Sites were held at Oak Glen and Weir middle schools.

It gave these children 20 minutes of one-on-one reading a day as well as an organized series of activities around that reading. The four-hour days also included arts and crafts, “non-competitive” recreation, writing, drama and a nutritional component that included being served breakfast and lunch.

Energy Express is a program under the leadership of WVU Extension Service’s 4-H Youth Development program. College-age mentors, employed by AmeriCorps, lead the local sites.

Last weekend, Energy Express took things a step further by offering free school supplies – via donations from local businesses and individuals – to both participants of the summer program and the general public. The supplies collected exceeded the 1,900 items given away last year.

We commend those Energy Express volunteers and those behind-the-scene for this tremendous program. These types of activities are a blessing to many within our communities, especially our children.