Community Impact Education Pathway Faces of Success: Kendrick Robinson
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Faces of Success: Kendrick Robinson

Monday morning. Another weekend has come and gone in the blink of an eye. The energy level is low and the stress level is creeping back up. Cummins employee Kendrick Robinson’s outlook on Mondays may never be the same, thanks to his recent United Way Reading Days of Action experience at First Steps Childcare Center.

“It was a great day,” said Robinson. “I enjoyed seeing their eyes light up and interacting with them; I see why they are awesome.”

Reading Days of Action offer one hour opportunities to visit a United Way Read to Succeed site and read to students enrolled in the Read to Succeed program. This was Robinson’s first time reading aloud to children, and he wasn’t sure what to expect.

“Some of them were shy and quiet at first,” he said. “As I continued reading, they became more engaged, vocal and expressive about the book. It reinforces the importance of reading.”

Research indicates that reading aloud to children presents books as sources of pleasant, valuable and exciting experiences. Children who value books are also increasingly motivated to read on their own.  As he continued reading to this engaged group of students, Robinson was completely amazed.

“Even though it was only make believe, they were able to apply the scenario they heard from the book to their real life situations and say, ‘That’s not right!’”

That type of analysis can be traced back to United Way’s Read to Succeed program. Read to Succeed is a comprehensive early literacy program that provides at-risk children with the basic reading readiness skills to prepare them for future educational success. Spending time with these children helped Robinson better understand why the program currently has a 97 percent success rate in kindergarten preparedness. The program has also transformed the educational foundations of more than 12,000 at-risk children since it began in 2004.

“It was encouraging to see how excited these children were about their favorite books and reading,” Robinson said. “I can see how the Read to Succeed program sparks an interest in learning for children.”

United Way volunteers are learning more about the roles they can play in impacting a child’s education through events like Reading Days of Action. Robinson enjoyed his experience and credits his employer for the opportunity.

“This is an added bonus of working for a company — Cummins — that takes corporate responsibility to another level. The company supports our efforts to go out and help this community. I would encourage my co-workers to take advantage.”

It was only an hour on a Monday morning, but Robinson understands the potential implications of the hour he spent with students at First Steps Childcare Center.

“They might become some of our future employees, so we want them to be really smart and we also want them to read really well.”

Students at all 13 United Way Read to Succeed sites have the proper educational tools to help them obtain the high quality education they desire. Volunteers like Robinson provide that safety net of encouragement for these children. If you are interested in boosting your energy levels to start a work week, consider volunteering at the next United Way Days of Action event or an upcoming Volunteer Reading Day.


For additional information about United Way of Metropolitan Nashville, including Days of Action and Volunteer Reading Days, please visit: https://www.unitedwaynashville.org/

To learn more about United Way's Education programs, click here.
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