Energy Express is a free, six-week summer reading and nutrition program for children living in West Virginia’s rural and low-income communities.
Like many others across West Virginia, students in Raleigh County have headed back to school. And with the help of $15,000 in financial support from Enel Green Power, youths who participated in West Virginia University Extension’s Energy Express program were more than prepared to return to the classroom.
Energy Express is a free, six-week summer reading and nutrition program for children living in West Virginia’s rural and low-income communities. Across the state, more than 2,000 students increase or maintain their reading levels during summer months through creative, colorful and captivating uses of art, drama and vocabulary. Additionally, the program helps fuel students by offering two nutritious meals each day during the program, helping to ensure youths are fed even after the school year comes to an end.
“Students who participate in Energy Express have the chance to not only maintain their reading skills but also gain new skills throughout the summer,” Karen Daniel, Energy Express site supervisor and Raleigh County Schools teacher, said. “And as a teacher, I see that growth happening each year.”
Renewable energy company Enel Green Power North America is West Virginia’s largest utility-scale solar developer and has multiple projects in development across the state, including the Raleigh solar project in Raleigh County. The company provided this support to ensure the Energy Express program could continue combating both hunger and the summer lull in literacy education in Raleigh County for both the 2022 and 2023 summers. Enel’s contribution includes $10,000 for this year’s Energy Express along with $5,000 toward a planned $10,000 contribution to next year’s program.
For nearly 30 years, Energy Express has been serving youths across West Virginia and that work would not be possible without the support of its donors.
“It’s generous gifts from organizations like Enel Green Power that allow us to continue our program in more communities around the state,” Mark Swiger, director of Energy Express said. “We are grateful for their commitment to supporting youth education and nutrition in Raleigh County.”
Enel's Creating Shared Value program partners with over 100 organizations across the US and Canada to promote healthy and resilient communities.
"Enel is committed to the long-term success of the communities we live and operate in," said Sam Judd, senior development manager at Enel. "Energy Express has a long-standing track record of improving educational outcomes for children, and we are excited to work with them to ensure the continued vitality of the region."
The support was provided through the WVU Foundation, the nonprofit organization that receives and administers private donations on behalf of the University. Energy Express is funded, in part, by grants and donations from individuals and private foundations and corporations through the Foundation and Volunteer West Virginia, the lead agency for volunteerism and National Service in West Virginia.
Youth development programs are the cornerstones of West Virginia communities. If you would like to invest in the future of West Virginia youths or other important WVU Extension Service programs, contact Lauren Seiler, director for development, WVU Extension at 304-293-5692 or email Lauren.Seiler@mail.wvu.edu.