KEYSER — Energy Express, an award-winning statewide summer reading program now in its 12th year in Mineral County, will kick off its Summer 2006 program on Monday.

The program will serve more than 230 children in Mineral County, providing two meals a day as well as reading-based educational activities that help the children maintain their reading skills and good nutrition during the summer months.

College students and community residents serving as Americorps members support the program, which will take place Monday through Friday June 26-Aug. 4. Two sites will be located at Keyser Primary-Middle School and one site each at Keyser Head Start and Wiley Ford Primary.

“Many children from low-income families are left behind, both nutritionally and academically, during the summer months,” said Margaret Miltenberger, county contact for the Energy Express program.

“This program ensures that they receive good nutrition and stay involved in fun and educational activities. Energy Express has been shown to help children not only maintain their reading skills during the summer, but often actually to improve them.”

Miltenberger said the support of the community is important for this vital program.

“We depend on the support of the community to make the program a success,” she said. “We need volunteers to read with the children, to help serve meals, and to donate supplies.”

Major funding for Energy Express comes from the West Virginia University Extension Service, the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, the West Virginia Commission for National and Community Service, the Summer Food Service Program through the West Virginia Department of Education, and the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts.

In addition to these state partners, there is also a tremendous amount of local support from the community.

For further information, to volunteer, or donate supplies or money, call Miltenberger at (304) 788-3621.

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