Coeur Alaska

Coeur Alaska presents its latest installment of $25,000 to the United Way of Southeast Alaska for the LEARN UNITED: Reading Tutor program.

In 2012, United Way of Southeast Alaska partnered with Coeur Alaska and the Juneau School District in order to work toward improving the literacy skills of elementary students in the area. Coeur Alaska generously said it would invest a total of $75,000 over the course of three years.

“We are very pleased to continue our partnership with United Way and the Juneau School District,” said Wayne Zigarlick, General Manager of Coeur Alaska’s Kensington Mine.  “We’d like to thank Reading Tutor Coordinator Lisa Worl and the many volunteers who are making a positive long term difference in the lives of these students.”

The goal of the program is to help students read at their grade level by the completion of the third grade. Studies show that up until the third grade, students are learning to read; afterwards, they read to learn. If they aren’t reading at their grade level by then, the chances of them falling behind are significant and could affect whether or not students graduate. Regardless of what career students will choose as adults, literacy is the foundation needed for future success.

Karen Crane, Past Chair of United Way, appreciates Coeur’s generous donation and understands the coming benefits. “This donation represents a long term investment in Juneau. The results may not be seen for a number of years but will certainly bring a lasting benefit to the students involved and thus to the community.  We thank Coeur for investing in our young people and the future of Juneau.”

When school ended in May of this year, teachers and principals were delighted with student progress and the program’s success. The response from the community has been positive and engaging.

This school year, the program has 25 volunteers signed up to be reading tutors, which is an increase from 13 volunteers last year. Though they are primarily at Riverbend and Gastineau, the program is expanding to Harborview. Tutors receive training from literacy coaches in the district and are then matched with a student to work with for the school year. Training includes instructional tips for teaching students the alphabet, phonological awareness, word decoding (phonics), high-frequency words, fluency and comprehension. During one to two 30-minute sessions each week, reading tutors will provide students with reading practice, meaningful discussion on book content, simple reading instruction and confidence-building motivation.

Lisa Worl, Reading Tutor Coordinator, says ““We’re thankful for the Reading Tutor volunteers.  This program is all about helping kids who need a little extra help with literacy.  With the extra attention and time the kids get with their tutors, not only improve their literacy skills but also learn to enjoy reading!”

Interested in becoming a reading tutor volunteer, or know someone who may be interested in the opportunity to volunteer with children? Contact our new Reading Tutor Coordinator, Sharon Cannon, at or by visiting the United Way of Southeast Alaska’s Get Connected site at Volunteer today to help the children of Southeast Alaska succeed.