by Ellen Andre
(Ninth in a series highlighting local non-profits doing great work in our community)
On the Move, Inc. is a small but powerful “little engine that could”.
Founded 7 years ago by Jan and Bill Haddad, their mission is to help their partners close the Reading Preparation and Achievement Gaps between the children from low-income families and their middle and upper income peers. They help bridge the connection between body and mind through donation of books and bikes, supporting low income families from ages 1-9.
OTM is very proud of the feedback they get from teachers, literacy specialists and principals on how much the books and other instructional materials they donate to them, help their students improve their reading skills.
This year their kindergarten and first grade teachers began teaching a new phonics program with the goal of providing a much-needed foundation. Teachers were thrilled to receive magnetic letters and whiteboards for their classrooms to support this effort.
Another tremendous help to this effort was a generous donation of decodable books. These are crucial for students to practice their phonics skills, but this supply was very limited. Thanks to donors they began to build a decodable library.
Some areas On the Move, Inc. would like to grow or expand include helping parents to understand their critical role in preparing their children to be at the appropriate reading levels by the time they get to kindergarten (preparation gap). Many of them need to be educated as to this issue and the important role they play in it. Also, Early Childhood Education (ECE) is in crisis. OTM would like to expand their advocacy role and elevate awareness of this issue and hopefully have people in government, education, business sector and the public at large address it in a meaningful way.
OTM states parents, community-based organizations and ethnic organizations raise the issue that many of their children are not reading at 3rd grade level and what the consequences of this are. They can help by contacting PTO’s, contact their City Councilors and School Committee members, Mayor, City Manager etc.
For more information on OTM and how you can help or donate, contact Bill at (978)239-6871.
If you would like to make a donation find them at www.otminc.org and make a donation through PayPal. Checks can be mailed to: 3 McAllister Way, Methuen, MA 01844