Governor's Office for Local Development
Gov. Beshear visits school in support of Save the Children

Press Release Date:  Thursday, December 18, 2008  
Contact Information:  Cindy Lanham
502-573-2382
 


WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. (Dec. 18, 2008) – Emphasizing the importance of childhood education, Gov. Steve Beshear today visited Whitley Central Primary School in support of Save the Children, whose programs for rural communities provide literacy, physical activity, nutrition and early childhood support to children in need.
 
Gov. Beshear was joined by Julianne Moore, a four-time Academy Award-nominated actress, children’s book author and ambassador for Save the Children’s U.S. Programs and Mark K. Shriver, vice president and managing director of U.S. Programs. All three toured the Save the Children in-school literacy program at the school.
 
“It is essential that we provide children in our state with the vital skills to become successful professionals,” said Gov. Beshear. “One of my top priorities for the commonwealth has been quality education. It is critical for our state to continue programs such as Save the Children to be competitive in the global market.”
 
Moore, a supporter of this program, was inspired by her recent visit to Save the Children's early childhood development, literacy and fitness programs in Tennessee. She created the Save the Children Valentine's Day Campaign, which aims to give families a way to make a difference for children in need in the U.S.
 
“We’re a country where every child should have an equal opportunity yet one in six children live in poverty,” said Moore.  “The only way to give these children opportunity is through education and Save the Children is helping us reach that goal.  The phenomenal 90 percent success rate at the Whitley program sets a powerful example for our leaders in Washington, D.C.”
 
Mark Shriver leads Save the Children’s U.S. programs that, among other things, give readers in grades K-6 the opportunity to increase their reading achievement and develop the reading skills and guidance they need to succeed academically and live healthy productive lives.
 
“We are fighting to make sure these children have every opportunity to lead America in the next generation,” said Shriver. “With partners like Governor Beshear and Julianne Moore, two committed and passionate children’s advocates, we are one step closer to ensuring that every Kentucky child has a quality education.” 
 
The Save The Children Federation, Inc. received an Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) federal grant in the amount of $500,000 to continue the literacy program in 14 southeastern Kentucky schools. This federal grant was matched by the commonwealth of Kentucky in the amount of $500,000.
 
The program plans to serve an estimated 1,500 children in Kentucky through this grant. 
 
“ARC is proud to stand by Governor Beshear and Save the Children in supporting this innovative literacy program for elementary school students in Eastern Kentucky,” said ARC Federal Co-Chair Anne Pope. “Reading well is essential to inculcating a lifelong love of learning in our young people, which leads not only to greater academic attainment and improved job opportunities, but a better quality of life as well.  No educational program could be more important than one that gives the children in our economically distressed areas the help they need to master this basic skill. This is just such a program.”
 
The Save the Children project is consistent with ARC’s strategic goals that strive to accomplish self-sustaining economic development and improved quality of life for the communities and citizens of the Appalachian region.  Kentucky is one of 13 states eligible for the funds. Grant applications are submitted to the Department for Local Government for review and require the governor’s recommendation for approval before submission to ARC. 
 
ARC is a federal-state economic development program used to assist the Appalachian region through a variety of projects in the areas of public infrastructure, human resource development and business development. 
 
The Whitley County School District serves 4,864 students in grades P-12.  The district consists of five elementary schools, one primary school, one intermediate school, one middle school and one high school. Three of these schools currently host Save the Children sites.
 
Please visit www.savethechildren.org <http://www.savethechildren.org/> for further information.