UJF Honors 25 Years of Reading and Relationships

By Lenore Fogel

In 1999, Elaine Erichson, Audrey Frankenburg and Susan Krieger had an idea.

In conjunction with the National Jewish Coalition for Literacy, they began Reading Partners at United Jewish Federation of Stamford, New Canaan, and Darien. In the Fall of 1999, two Stamford public schools and 13 volunteers enrolled. By 2003, the Herbert and Sarah M Gibor Charitable Foundation began to fund the program thanks to the dedication of UJF and local volunteers.

Today, 25 years later, Reading Partners collaborates with all 13 public elementary schools in Stamford and has close to 70 volunteers. The work that started in Stamford in 1999 continues in 2024, with nearly 4,000 chilldren from across Stamford impacted through UJF's Reading Partners program over the last 25 years. 

On June 6th, Volunteers, Teachers and Supporters gathered to celebrate a milestone event.

Close to fifty people participated in a festive breakfast, where they were honored for their dedication throughout the years. Some volunteers at the breakfast have participated in Reading Partners since its formation, while others began this year. Guest speaker, children’s author, and six time emmy nominated tv writer Alan Katz, kept everyone laughing and engaged. At the end of the event, everyone in attendance received a commemorative 25 Year Anniversary notebook from UJF.

"It is so wonderful to see the devotion of the volunteers and the school administration in strengthening the student’s reading skills", said Reading Partners Director, Lenore Fogel.

"The volunteers love their meetings as much as the children who run to greet them each week when they see them at the door! We are excited for the next school year and actively recruiting for volunteers. We look forward to the next 25 Years!".