Area groups help promote Literacy Day in region

Michille Gnadzinski of the Boys & Girls Club of Northern Chautauqua County reads to students.

Volunteers from several local businesses, civic organizations, and young professionals teamed up with the United Way of Northern Chautauqua County (UWNCC) and the Northern Chautauqua Young Professionals (NCYP) to highlight the importance of literacy at a young age on Friday, April 26. The event is hosted annually by UWNCC, and this year was coordinated by NCYP and the Chautauqua County Partnership for Economic Growth (CCPEG). Dedicated volunteers read to grades Pre-K-6 at several local schools, including Dunkirk School 5, Forestville, Ripley, Westfield, Little Seeds, Buffalo Speech and Hearing, and Wheelock. Each child received a new book to take home, and over 700 books were distributed to encourage reading at home. The 2024 book sponsors include Lake Shore Savings Bank, Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation, DFT Communications, and the Ag Team.

United Way Board Chair Tyler Gotowka commented, “An emphasis on literacy starts at home. Reading to children, reading with children, and encouraging them to read on their own can be some of the most impactful things parents can do to help their children achieve academic success. We are so grateful to our sponsors for helping to ensure that each child in the schools we will be visiting will have a new book to add to their collection at home.”

Northern Chautauqua Young Professionals Co-Chair Monica Simpson stated, “Our group is working hard to bring young professionals together with our community and to highlight the great things happening in this place where we live and work.

This is an amazing opportunity to positively impact and invest time in the next generation of Chautauqua County. Our readers look forward to this event every year”.

Thank you to our partner organizations that lent us so many wonderful volunteers, including CCPEG, Lawley Insurance, Prevention Works, the Chautauqua Center, Americold Logistics, the Center of Innovation and Economic Development, the Northern Chautauqua Community

From left, in front: Rebecca Johnson, Junior Achievement of WNY and her son Joseph. In back: Than Clark, NCCF; Diane Hanuum, NCCF, Lori Runge; Andersen Cuddihy, Monica Simpson, CCPEG, Leslie Wille, NCCF, Kristin White, BGCNCC; Michille Gnadzinski, BGCNCC; and Alicia Ekstrom, TCC.

Foundation, Mayville/Westfield Rotary, Andersen Cuddihy, the Boy Scouts of America, the Boys and Girls Club of Northern Chautauqua County (BGCNCC), Allegheny Highlands Council, Chautauqua Adult Day Services, Junior Achievement of WNY, Cattaraugus County Bank, The Chautauqua Center (TCC) Paychex and the Boys and Girls Club of Northern Chautauqua County.

The United Way of Northern Chautauqua County has served our community since the 1930s when the Dunkirk-Fredonia Community Chest, Inc., was formed. Since then, their mission has grown and evolved to meet the changing needs of our community. Today, the United Way of Northern Chautauqua County’s local leadership team is working in partnership to impact our community with positive and sustained results.

The mission of Northern Chautauqua Young Professionals (NCYP) is to network and advocate for young professionals, promoting awareness of local opportunities and entrepreneurship endeavors. NCYP strategically engages in social and civic practices, enhancing the overall quality of life for young professionals and, by extension, our communities.


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