WINFIELD — Volunteers are still needed for Putnam County's Energy Express program, which began Monday.

Through a combination of healthy breakfasts, lunches, and learning activities, the Energy Express program aims to help the children of Putnam County avoid the "summer slide" in reading skills while providing them with nutritious meals.

This year's program began on Monday, June 24, at Lakeside Elementary and George Washington Elementary. More than 75 children from Putnam County will participate in the summer program, which is brought to the counties of West Virginia by West Virginia University Extension Service and AmeriCorps.

The program is designed to provide learning opportunities and nutrition during the summer months, when children from low income areas are at a greater risk for falling into the "summer slide." This slide occurs when children fall behind academically due to a lack of reading over the summer.

The kids who participate in Energy Express spend their time in a print-rich environment where they read, write, and create various art projects. The work of Energy Express extends beyond the initial five weeks of the program, as each child receives a book to take home and keep every week.

Energy Express happens with the help of WVU Extension Service, Volunteer WV- the State's Commission for National and Community Service, and the Summer Food Service Program through the West Virginia Department of Education.

Volunteers are needed from Putnam County to help the kids with reading and writing and to assist with art projects. For more information, to volunteer, or to donate supplies email Emily Pauley at epauley13@gmail.com for the George Washington Elementary Site or Melissa Hayes at Lakeside at mhayes@k12.wv.us.

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