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Reading Buddies Awarded United Way Grant

Left to right: Lisa Cofer, executive director of United Way of Bristol, presents the check to Dr. Keith Perrigan, superintendent of Bristol Virginia Public Schools; Nelson Pyle, chair of Reading Buddies Bristol TN/VA Steering Committee; and Dr. Gary Lilly, director of schools for Bristol Tennessee City Schools.

On January 18, United Way of Bristol awarded Reading Buddies of Bristol TN/VA $20,000 for their program. Reading Buddies of Bristol TN/VA began in 2013 with one school in Bristol, Tennessee. Since that time, it has expanded to five schools: three in Bristol, Tennessee, and two in Bristol, Virginia, with hundreds of students and volunteers participating. The program is based on a one-on-one mentoring model and is designed to help every child become proficient in reading by third grade and to develop relationships with caring adults to ensure children have a support system to foster their learning.

“United Way of Bristol works to fight for the health, education and financial stability of every person in our community,” said Lisa Cofer, executive director of United Way of Bristol. “We knew it was vital for us to be involved in the Reading Buddies program not only as a member of the leadership team and providing assistance with marketing the program, but now with our financial resources as well.  The positive results shown in the students’ test scores since the inception of the program confirm that Reading Buddies is making a difference in the lives of hundreds of children in Bristol each year, and we are excited to be a partner with the school systems and this program.”

Last year, Reading Buddies Bristol TN/VA applied for the funding from United Way of Bristol through their local community initiatives grant process.  As a result, each school district will receive $10,000 for their respective Reading Buddies program. Learn more about the program at

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