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Reading Pals

Here’s a sobering fact – Nearly one third of Florida’s third graders attending public school cannot read at minimally proficient levels. And, sadly, those children are four times more likely to drop out of high school. United Way of Manatee County as part of our efforts to fight for Education, Financial Stability and Health and introduced ReadingPals into Title 1 schools.

ReadingPals is an early literacy initiative for children Voluntary Pre-kindergarten and Kindergarten. The program focuses on ensuring children are exposed to the wonders of reading and are more likely to progress on their learning to read journey. Volunteers are paired with one or two students to read a physical book that the child takes home to build their home library. The next session, the ReadingPal works with the child on an electronic device using a child friendly reading program that contains books in English and Spanish with literacy rich activities. It allows the teachers to monitor each child’s progress.

We train and deploy volunteer “reading pals” who dedicate their time one hour a day, one day per week for 28 weeks to read to a child. This year ReadingPals is in 6 Title 1 schools.

If you are ready to make a difference in a child’s life, click here.


United Way encourages everyone to give of their time to make Manatee County a better place to live. We’re rocking Manatee County’s world with a whole new volunteer initiative. Thanks to a partnership with United Way HandsOn Suncoast, United Way of Manatee County is breaking the barrier between the desire to volunteer and getting plugged in to engaging, meaningful projects that have real power to change the face of our community. It’s time to take our long history of providing committed volunteers for much needed community enrichment and the advocacy and relationship building we do with our region’s non-profits to the next level. This exciting web portal will display numerous volunteer opportunities for anyone looking to LIVE UNITED by giving their time and talent to help those in need right here in Manatee County. The benefits of improved quality of life, team building and character development through volunteerism are undeniable. Individuals, groups, teams, businesses, civic organizations, friends, family and neighbors are all welcome. A brief, free, one-time volunteer orientation is provided to ensure your safety and compliance in this nationally accredited program.

If you are interested in volunteering with the United Way of Manatee County,
please click on the link below to view current opportunities and to create a profile on HandsOn Manatee.

HandsOn Manatee Webpage