Colorado is ranked 48 among the states in education and statewide 10% of Colorado’s residents lack basic literacy skills, according to The Learning Source. Applewood Plumbing Heating & Electric is making an impact to change these statistics at one Arvada school – Swanson Elementary as the November “Caring Community Giveaway” winner.
Swanson Elementary received their $1,000 award during a check presentation on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2009. Students from the third grade, Ashley Hornstein, Alex Solano and Viet Tran joined in the presentation and shared their most recent book selections with owner, John Ward. The school principal, Andrew Schrant and Librarian Shannon Feely also attended.
“Reading is an essential skill to be successful,” said Ward. “Reading is also important to build strong and smart workforces. It’s imperative you can read, understand and comprehend to be able to do a good job whether that’s a student now or a plumber when you grow up.” Applewood has one of the toughest hiring criteria and is the only service company where 100 percent of their technicians are licensed.
Nearly 500 students will now be able to choose a book of their own as a result of the “Giveaway” funds. It is estimated that more than 85 percent of all fourth graders in high poverty schools score below the proficient level in reading. “We used to give books away two and threes times a year, but our funding has been cut,” said Feely. “Many of our families don’t have extra money, so books just aren’t something they can buy for their children.”
The students will get to get a book of their choice in the spring as part of the Build Your Own Library program. “We have books for all levels and the students make their choices without any adult help.” Feely hopes the program will do more than just improve their reading skills. “I’m hoping the program will give our students the lifelong gift of reading. In many cases, this is the one new thing that they have to call their own.”
The Build Your Own Library program focuses on reading at home versus the classroom. “What reading does for them – especially at-risk students – is gives kids an escape and let’s them explore opportunities they might not otherwise have,” she said. “You can travel through a book even if you can’t in reality.”
Applewood Plumbing Heating & Electric has served the Denver/Boulder Metro area for more than 37 years and is proud to have been named the 2009 winner of the Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award for Marketplace Trust in the Large Business category. The company was also recently rated eighth in the nation’s top 10 service companies by its customers. They are honored to have achieved the Nexstar Network Select Service Designation and to have been named 2007 City of Golden Rotary Ethics in Business Award winner.