East End Community School is the grateful recipient of a Little Free Library that is among six that United Way of Southern Maine (UWSM) and WEX, Inc. are installing to promote youth literacy and increase access to books for children. The other libraries are located at local parks and partner organizations in Portland and Biddeford.
Little Free Libraries are a catalyst for building community, inspiring readers, and expanding book access for all through a global network of volunteer-led Little Free Libraries. WEX employees will also participate in a Volunteer Readers program at East End Community School through United Way.
Melissa Smith, Chair and CEO of WEX, had the inspiration for this project when she was UWSM’s 2021 Campaign Chair and was looking for a project that would unite companies across Southern Maine around a shared goal. The hope is more companies will follow WEX’s lead and install Little Free Libraries in other locations across Southern Maine.
Smith visited the Little Free Library at the East End School in early November – National Family Literacy Month – to stock the library with new children’s books donated by WEX.
This initiative advances Thrive2027, our community’s shared vision to improve education, financial stability, and health for everyone in Southern Maine. In Southern Maine, only 65 percent of low-income third-grade students read proficiently. Before third grade, students learn to read; after third grade, they read to learn. Making books more accessible, can help more kids read proficiently so they can succeed in school and get a strong start in life.
United Way of Southern Maine (UWSM) brings people and resources together to improve lives, creating a brighter future for children, individuals, and families. Uniquely positioned at the center of our community, UWSM actively seeks to engage partners, donors, advocates, and volunteers to create measurable long-lasting change in the areas of education, financial stability, and heal.