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On behalf of the Madison County Education Foundation, I extend our greetings and hope that this letter finds you and your loved ones well. I would like to take this opportunity to update you on the work we are doing.
Our foundation is continuing to work with the Madison County schools and community organizations to ensure that education continues during these difficult times. We are adapting our work to meet the current needs of the groups we work with.
For example, our signature program, Everybody Wins, has changed its way of having adult mentors interact with students. Instead of meeting with the students for shared reading, the adults and students have begun a pen pal relationship, working with the teacher to exchange letters. In addition, our teacher grant guidelines have been modified somewhat to allow for some grant applications that might be for projects that are necessitated by the particular challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
We are reaching out to our community to ask for your financial support. We elected to forgo our spring fundraising efforts last March due to the uncertainties of the time. We now ask you to help us out so we can give the maximum support possible to the schools and other community educational groups that we traditionally support.
December 1st is nationally designated as Giving Tuesday. We ask that you remember MCEF when you consider your end-of-year giving this year and make a Giving Tuesday contribution. All donations help meet needs right here in Madison County.
You may make a donation by mail by sending a check to
PO BOX 1277
MADISON VA 22727-1277
Or online with a debit or credit card
You may designate a teacher to honor with your donation by including their name with your donation. We will recognize the teachers through their schools with a special presentation, as well as announcing them in the newspaper and here on our web site.
We thank you for your help in making education a priority in our community!
Susan G. Bramley, President
Based on the recommendation of teachers at the Waverly Yowell Elementary School, the MCEF “Everybody Wins” program was selected to receive recognition at the March 9, 2020, Madison County School Board meeting. Everybody Wins pairs community volunteers with 3rd, 4th and 5th graders who have requested inclusion in the program to read and chat together once a week during the students’ lunch break. Our goal is not to teach reading but to generate enthusiasm for reading.
Attending the ceremony were WYES teachers Rebecca Bader and Marty Ward; David Cooper, Chair and volunteer reader for Everybody Wins; Jeannine Leffel and Dera Cooper Everybody Wins volunteer readers, and several students who participate in the program. Mrs. Leffel was joined at the podium by the two young ladies who have been reading with her for the past two years to share their experiences in Everybody Wins. Each student in attendance was given an opportunity to speak about their favorite aspects of the program which included, spending time with the volunteers, meeting new people, reading, and being members of the group. Those who were in the program last year also mentioned their enthusiasm for the field trip to the Green Valley Book Fair and lunch at the Wood Grill Buffet in Harrisonburg.
Rebecca Bader makes her third-grade classroom available on Tuesdays. She is very involved in helping to manage the program and said that she sees the results of the program trickle into other aspects of learning as the children develop an enthusiasm for reading. School Board member and former MCEF Officer, Arthur Greene, Jr., indicated that he believes “Everybody Wins” is the most impactful of the MCEF programs. School Board Chairman, Barry Penn Hollar thanked MCEF and its volunteers for operating the program, saying “the whole community wins”.
The volunteers of Everybody Wins will be quick to tell you that they get as much out of the program as the children do. There are currently 28 volunteers reading to 34 students and there is a waiting list of students who hope to join the program. If you are interested in volunteering, please reach out to David Cooper at firstname.lastname@example.org. An application is available at https://madisonedfoundation.org/what-we-do/everybody wins. We would love to have you!
CAMP UNAKITE BUILDS CLASSROOM SUCCESS
by Michael Rider
Camp Unakite is a grant-funded STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) educational opportunity for rising third through eighth-grade students in Madison County and is co-sponsored by the Madison County Public Schools and the Madison County Education Foundation (MCEF).
Students explore their natural world through STEM activities during a summer camp held at Graves Mountain Lodge. These activities include animal studies, mineral understanding, soil investigations, water cleanliness and movement, volcanic eruptions, and others.
“Camp Unakite has made a significant difference in the lives of young people in Madison. MCEF has supported Unakite for over four years. In partnership with the Madison Schools and Graves Mountain Lodge, it has provided a learning and camping experience for students that has awakened new interest in learning and confidence in their own abilities,” said Barbara Kres Beach, MCEF president.
Quantitative data for the 2014-15 school year, developed by Superintendent Matt Eberhardt, were compared to the data for the 2015-2016 school year to assess the impact of Camp Unakite. The study group consisted of sixty-seven students in grades three through seven attending Camp Unakite in the summer of 2015. Nineteen students in grades seven through eight attended in the summer of 2016.
The assessment results which have translated into the classroom are impressive:
GRADES 3-6 Participants
47.6% improved in attendance
14.3% improved in behavior
13.6% improved in reading
31.8% improved in mathematics
65.2% of Unakite students earned a Reading letter grade of B or better in the third grade year
78.9% of Unakite students earned a Mathematics letter grade of B or better in the third grade year
GRADES 7-8 Participants
31.6% improved in attendance
42.1% improved in behavior
21.1% improved in reading
31.8% improved in mathematics
The Madison County Education Foundation (MCEF) has supported Camp Unakite since its inception. It has won a line item in the MCEF budget because we believe strongly that the goals and results of the program merit our commitment.
What pays the bills for this outstanding program? Approximately half of the costs are borne by the Madison County Public Schools. The other half comes from monies raised by the MCEF.
The MCEF funds supporting Unakite are raised at the annual March Madness fundraiser. Your attendance at March Madness helps tip the scales in favor of this learning-by-camping experience.
Join your friends and neighbors on March 18. Come to MARCH MADNESS at Graves Mountain Lodge’s picnic pavilion starting at 4pm. Tickets are available online at www.madisonedfoundation.org or by calling Carty Yowell, March Madness chairperson, at 757-615-0626. Your donation and participation in March Madness makes Camp Unakite possible for hundreds of school children. Because of citizen commitment, Unakite makes a difference!