Team Long Run
Coming out of the remote learning school year due to Covid-19, Jill Bartash, Principal of the Rumford Elementary School, recognized that many children did not get sufficient physical activity. She was also concerned about students falling behind in their reading progress. In the fall of 2021, as a new school year was about to begin, Jill introduced the folks at Team Long Run, Chuck, and Hilary Wilcoxen, to the Friends of the River Valley. Team Long Run, a Bridgton-based non-profit organization, helps school-age children improve their literacy by combining it with exercise and fun activities. Recognizing the challenges many of the River Valley Community children faced during the pandemic, FRV coordinated with TLR and Jill to fund an exercise and literacy program called ‘Sizzle & Pop’ for both Meroby and Rumford elementary schools and the local Head Start program. FRV also introduced TLR to private donors, the Margaret Burnham Charitable Foundation, and the Maine Community Foundation to round out the needed financial support to cover the cost for the entire academic year.
Photo courtesy Bruce Farrin of the Sun Journal/Rumford Falls Times
63% of children
Living below poverty levels have no books in the home. Having books in the home is the single most critical piece to early literacy.
For the school year of 2021-22, programs such as Head Start, The Brown Bag program, and “Sizzle and Pop” provided active play and reading for children.
With FRV funding and in conjunction with additional donors, River Valley children are able to build home libraries.