Dallas-based Atmos Energy Corporation, an S&P 500 company that is the largest fully regulated, natural gas-only distributor in the U.S., is making a $1 million contribution to United Way of Metropolitan Dallas (UWMD) to inspire North Texas children with the love of reading.
The Atmos funding is meant to help UWMD complete its Aspire United 2030 education goal. The nonprofit hopes to have a 50 percent increase in the number of local students reading on grade level by third grade—in doing so, it can help open doors, broaden horizons, and set them up for success.
UWMD noted in a statement that research shows kids starting school ready to learn are more likely to proficiently read by third grade. And, those who can read on grade level by then are five times more likely to graduate ready to begin college or a career.
The Dallas org wants to improve education today to improve the community’s future income and health.
According to Jennifer Sampson, the McDermott-Templeton president and CEO of United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, reading is the gateway to education, beginning at an early age. That’s why UWMD decided to team up with Atmos and Vooks, a first-of-its-kind animated storybook streaming company, to provide around 78,000 one-year Vooks subscriptions to children ages 3 to 6 years old and early education teachers.
Portland-based Vooks makes reading an experience. The tech is meant to marry the love, trust, and safety of children’s books with online streaming’s convenience. Throughout its expansive library of award-winning books, the platform adds animation, sound, and narration to bring words to life and spark imagination for children between 1 and 8 years old.
“Establishing a love of reading from an early age is fundamental to lifelong learning,” Vooks Co-Founder and CEO Marshall Bex said in a statement. “Literacy opens doors and opportunities, and children without access to books are at an educational disadvantage. This partnership is a step toward bridging the gap and opening new worlds of imagination to children through books.”
Atmos Energy is participating in the partnership through its Fueling Safe and Thriving Communities program. The distributor of safe, clean, efficient, and affordable energy is committed to corporate responsibility—and achieving community impact.
Atmos aims to be the nation’s safest provider of natural gas services. The local corporation has invested in a number of initiatives related to safety, innovation, and the environment that can help it better serve more than 3 million distribution customers in more than eight states.
Earlier this year, we told you about Atmos joining Our Nation’s Energy Future Coalition (ONE Future), an alliance of national gas supply chain companies seeking to reduce methane emissions through technology and policy solutions.
“We are focused on nurturing bright minds and healthy futures for our kids, with an emphasis on helping students read on-level by third grade,” John Paris, Atmos Energy Mid-Tex Division president, said in a statement. Over the past five years, Atmos has donated some $24 million to communities to support education, health, and community welfare, according to its website.
That’s all part of a dedication to employees: “Because our employees live, work and play in the communities we serve, they take great pride in being good neighbors,” the company says.
Dallas area parents and early education teachers who are interested in receiving a free one-year subscription to Vooks can go here.
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