Our READ UNITED initiative consists of three programs currently running in Goshen and Elkhart Community Schools (expanding to select LaGrange County schools in Fall 2020):


Real Men Read runs every October to November

This program places positive male role models in Goshen and Elkhart elementary school classrooms to read aloud to their assigned class.


Reading Camps run every January to March.

This program provides after school one-on-one tutoring and reading practice for elementary students who are falling behind their peers.


Spring Into Reading runs every April to May.

This program places volunteers into elementary classrooms to read aloud to classes of children.

Spring Into Reading consists of four weekly sessions within the classrooms of our youngest students. Volunteers spend approximately 30 minutes per week reading and interacting with children in our schools. The program starts on April 20th and runs through Friday, May 15th.  An orientation will be held on Wednesday, April 15th from noon-1:00pm at the United Way of Elkhart & LaGrange Counties building.

Spring Into Reading program allows community members to share their leadership skills, careers, interests and love of reading with our Pre-K through 1st grade students in Elkhart and Goshen Community Schools. Readers are placed on a first come, first served basis with attempts to pair according to reader/classroom schedules! Please note the teachers will be present to assist with classroom management. Book packets with prompt cards are provided for each reader.

For more information, or to participate in Goshen, please contact Sharon Sarber at or 574-533-8631, ext. 2048.

To volunteer in Elkhart schools, contact Diane Lucchese, CARES Recruiter, at or 574-295-4870.






For info on volunteer opportunities at Goshen Community Schools please contact Sharon Sarber at or at 574.533.8631 ext. 2048

For Elkhart Schools, please contact Diane Lucchese at or 574-849-8987



Reading is a critical bridge to success in school, work and life.  Until third grade, children are generally learning to read; by fourth grade, however, they should be reading to learn.  At the fourth grade level, coursework gets harder and reading becomes more challenging.  Students who don't read well have increasing difficulty keeping up- which can lead to bad grades, disengaging from school, and dropping out.

That's why United Way is creating and  leading supportive efforts to help young kids build a strong foundation. 

“Spring Into Reading” Author Visit to Model Elementary:

Author Suzanne Slade made an appearance at Model Elementary to speak about her book “Astronaut Annie”. The event highlighted the book’s selection to travel to the International Space Station. The launch of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket happened on May 4, 2019 at 2:48am from Cape Canaveral, FL. “Annie” rode in “Dragon”, the space pod delivering supplies to the ISS. It made contact with the Space Station on May 6, 2019. The launch is available for viewing at Once docked on the station, an astronaut will read the book and a video recording of the reading will be posted on the website “Story Time From Space”,

Tami Hicks, Principal of Model Elementary, enjoyed hosting the presentation at the local Goshen school. Diane Woodworth, Superintendent of Goshen Community Schools, started the event by reading aloud “Astronaut Annie” to approximately 100 Kindergarten students on May 3, 2019. Suzanne Slade followed the reading by a presentation of “Annie’s” international travel to make it to the Falcon 9 launch site. She also spoke regarding the process of becoming an author, including a copy of her first story, written as a 1st grader at Parkside. The event ended as Suzanne Slade completed an interactive reading of her story “Animals Are Sleeping” with the students. Sharon Sarber, Volunteer Engagement Specialist for GCS, coordinated the event as part of the Read United program, “Spring into Reading”. The program connects community volunteers with Kindergarten classrooms in Elkhart and Goshen Community Schools for read-alouds over a 4-week period. The story was included in the program curriculum this year. 

Read United is an initiative funded by United Way of Elkhart County in collaboration with both school districts. “Real Men Read” and “Reading Camp” are two other volunteer-based programs within Read United. For more information, please contact Sharon Sarber at or Diane Lucchese (ECS CARES Coordinator) at

For info on how to volunteer please contact

Sharon Sarber at

or at 574.533.8631 ext. 2048