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Power Lunch

Building Relationships Through Reading

Mile High United Way believes all children should be ready for school and reading at or beyond grade level by the end of third grade. Power Lunch, an initiative of the School Partners Program, brings together businesses and schools with the ultimate goal of improving early literacy and developing a love for reading. 

Power Lunch volunteers take part in one-on-one weekly or bi-weekly reading sessions with Denver Public School (DPS) 2nd and 3rd grade students. The individual attention that volunteers provide helps our early grade students become stronger readers and develop a love for reading.

Join as an individual or with coworkers to adopt a classroom and read to students. Power Lunch benefits the students, unites a community, and enhances teamwork and fosters corporate presence in the community. 

Some facts about Power Lunch:

  • The program is currently operating in ten DPS elementary school classrooms.
  • Over 200 students and over 400 volunteers participate in the program. 
  • Volunteers have the option to pair up, allowing them to alternate weeks
  • Over 15 businesses or organizations are represented in Power Lunch. Of those, the following have adopted a full classroom: Buckley Air Force Base, DPS Cares, Mile High United Way, National Renewable Energy Laboratories (NREL), PwC, Windsor Gardens, and Women United.
  • Mile High United Way and DPS Foundation provide extensive support to ensure a seamless student and volunteer experience.

What are the results?

The learning experience that takes place in Power Lunch classrooms is uniquely reciprocal. Improving early literacy and developing a love for reading are the primary goals. The friendship and expanded perspective of both the student and volunteer develops remarkably throughout the school year. Here are a few additional highlights:

  • When compared with matched pairs, third grade students who participated in a full year of Power Lunch demonstrated a 20% greater grade level proficiency growth.   
  • 100% of teachers surveyed stated that Power Lunch helped their students develop fluency, vocabulary, confidence and the ability to bond with an adult.
  • 91% of volunteers surveyed said that Power Lunch made their workday more enjoyable.

To read monthly highlights about Power Lunch and the School Partners Program please follow our School Partners blog

To get involved or to learn more, please contact Amy Woolridge at (303) 561-2223 or amy.woolridge@unitedwaydenver.org