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United Way’s Emerging Leaders Volunteer to Engage Students in Literacy, Learning

Aug 10, 2016
Growing up in a small town in Wisconsin, there was not much to do during the cold, snowy winter months. My family would often find me snuggled up to a book or filling out an educational activity book. Learning and reading was always something fun for me and opened my eyes to the endless possibilities our world has to offer. My experience growing up built a strong passion for improving education which led me to the United Way Affinity Group, the Emerging Leaders Society (ELS).

 Ashley Sanyal, Chair
United Way Emerging Leaders Society
As a newbie to the Hartford area, I was looking for an organization that impacted children’s lives by local young professionals. My first ELS event was at the community school, Alfred E. Burr Elementary School where I led a geography activity for third grade students who were eager to learn, even after a long day of studies. Afterwards, other ELS members and I had dinner with the children and learned all about their favorite school subjects, teachers and even talked about their home lives.  At one point during the conversation, a student pulled out the family photos he was carrying in his backpack and proudly showed me who he was talking about. The students’ curiosity and eagerness to learn reminded me of my love for learning. I knew at that moment, I was hooked on volunteering with ELS.

Over the years, my involvement with ELS and the United Way has evolved from volunteering as a weekly reader at Clark Elementary School to planning ELS’ most successful fundraiser, Boogie for Books. Most recently I was reminded by our ELS Community Rock Star Jamil Ragland, that every small thing we do in our community leads to something big!

If you'd like to learn more about ELS, please join me at the MetroHartford Alliance Rising Star Breakfast on August 24 from 7:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. and hear Dr. Myra Jones-Taylor, Commissioner, Connecticut Office of Early Childhood inspire us to build a community of early learnings, one book at a time.

Learn more at:
United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut
Emerging Leaders Society


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