White Castle Donation Helps towards Ferndale Literacy Project

White Castle Donation Helps towards Ferndale Literacy Project

(Crystal A. Proxmire, May 6, 2018)

Ferndale, MI – “When I was a kid, a group of us boys would take the bus up from Highland Park just to get sliders for twelve cents.  We’d come get sliders and take the bus back home. This White Castle has always been part of my life and the community,” said Jack Aronson as he accepted a donation of $500 from White Castle to the Ferndale Literacy Project.

Aronson founded the Ferndale Literacy Project (and later the Hazel Park Literacy Project)  two years ago when he sold his company Garden Fresh to Campbell’s.  The projects fund a reading program in the respective high schools to help student get caught up to their grade levels.

Teacher Stephanie Scobie joined Aronson as well as Ferndale High School Principal Lisa Williams to meet with the manager and regional director from White Castle.

“There are four fundamental reading skills that we work on,” Scobie said.  “Comprehension, summarizing, inference and context clues. In just a couple years we’ve seen a good amount of growth.”

Students who are significantly behind get placed in the program, but it’s not set up so students feel empowered. There is a reading lounge where students can relax and read on couches and comfy chairs.  The program involves group work and one-on-one training.

Diana Sutton who works regionally for White Castle was taken aback by the stories of teenagers unable to read.  “You hear about reading programs, and it makes sense.  Everyone thinks reading is important. But when you really think about it, how much do we use reading every day? What if you can’t read signs, or look up things online, or go to a restaurant and can’t read the menu?  How many jobs require reading? I couldn’t even imagine how hard that would be,” Sutton said.  “After I heard about this, I started being aware. Every time I use reading, I think about how it would be not to know how.  These aren’t little kids. These are young adults going into the world.  How can they do that without reading? It breaks my heart to think about.”

Aronson said that he’d have people come in to apply for jobs who needed someone else with them to help fill out the application.

In Ferndale and Hazel Park, Aronson said, the kids who have grown up in the districts tend to have good reading skills, but students who come to the district in their teens may not have had the same learning opportunities.  “We need to make sure that we do the best we can to prepare these kids for the future,” Aronson said.

Aronson got the ball rolling by starting the Ferndale and Hazel Park Literacy Projects, but the future depends on individuals and businesses – big and small – coming together to invest in the kids. In addition to growing his new food processing business, Aronson has been determined to grow the literacy organizations into a longstanding part of the community.

For more information visit https://www.facebook.com/Ferndaleliteracyproject/

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