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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Dwyane Wade summer reading program looks for funding

Photo by Jordan Johnson
The Wade’s World Foundation funded the first three summers of the “Live to Dream” program, which is housed in the College of Education’s Hartman Center for Literacy and Learning Center.

Marquette’s Hartman Center for Literacy and Learning’s “Live to Dream” summer reading program secured funding for the next two years and is searching for a donor for summer 2020.  

Four years ago, the Wade’s World Foundation gave the Center for Literacy and Learning a $195,000 gift, which funded the summer program to help children around Milwaukee maintain or increase their reading skills over the summer. 

Each summer costs nearly $65,000 to run, and the foundation’s $195,000 amount covered three years. As of now, the center has found donors for the fourth and fifth years. However, they are in the process of finding the sixth, Kathleen Clark, director of the center, said.

“In about 18 months, the dean (of education), University Advancements and I will sit down and figure out what the next steps are, but at this point it is really impossible to say,” Clark said. 

The program aims to prevent the ‘summer slide,’ a decline of literacy achievement commonly found among students from low-income families during the three-month vacation. With three summers well underway, the Live to Dream program exceeded its goals and helped children make significant gains in their reading comprehension skills.

“We have a lot of high poverty children in Milwaukee, and often times you see a regression during the summer,” Clark said.

The Wade’s World Foundation seeks to provide support to community-based organizations that promote education, health and social skills for children, according to its website.

Bill Henk, the dean of the College of Education, said Milwaukee has no shortage of underachievement in literacy.  

“There’s a vast opportunity or need depending on how you look at it. If you have the resources, you can help more kids,” Henk said.  

Clark originally wrote an application for Governor Scott Walker’s “Read to Lead” grant, but Walker did not fund it.  

“University Advancement then took my grant proposal and then presented it to the (Wade’s World Foundation), and they were really interested in the program,” Clark said.

Henk said the money it takes to run ‘Live to Dream’ is worth it when compared to the amount good the program can do. 

“When you think about the impact that you are having on the community, with the students who are coming to campus and helping prevent the summer slide, that’s priceless,” Laura Bolger, director of development for the College of Education, said.

Clark said summer programming is typically associated with universities that have masters programs, where teachers are graduate students who take courses in reading assessment and instruction.

On the other hand, “Live to Dream” employs newly-licensed Marquette graduates and alumni who have taught for a few years, Clark said.

“A lot of the money that we have goes into salaries for the people who teach the program,” Clark said.

There is no cost for children to attend. The center provides the children with books, transportation from school to university, snacks and meals, as well as supplies and assessments for the teachers.  

Clark said the program is dependent on external funding, and she would certainly like to continue to see it in operation. Without funding, the program will not be possible. 

“The Hartman Center does amazing work during the academic year, and the Wade program bridges that gap in the summer,” Bolger said. “Really what it is about is instilling in these kids that have the greatest need of all, which is literacy help, the belief in themselves that they can do this, and they are doing it and that they can be successful.”

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