DeMorris doesn’t “love” to read — he knows it’s important, though. He knows that it’ll help him punch his ticket to college.  

He was encouraged to get involved in a reading program at The Villages at Carver YMCA by Bilal Blake who helps teach other teens like DeMorris classes in reading, writing and STEM.  

“I do most of my reading at school,” DeMorris says, sliding the strap of his backpack off of his shoulders and onto the floor. “But I do really like math, and I want to go to college. I don’t know what I want to do yet, but I’ve been meeting with colleges, and I had a college interview yesterday.”  

For the past three years, DeMorris has been walking to Carver YMCA, playing basketball, swimming and participating in a number of other things. But now he’s started reading more. That’s because of this reading program.  

The high school student participates in the literacy program that’s held at Carver Family YMCA. There are about 15 other kids in the program with him, too. He says he really didn’t even know them until he started the class, either.  

But now they’ve become his friends. DeMorris gets exposure to the reading program and all kinds of books, STEM materials and regular meetings to discuss college and careers thanks to United Way of Greater Atlanta’s African-American Partnership.  

The grant money given to Carver YMCA helps improve reading, writing and critical thinking skills for students like DeMorris 

AAP launched June 2000 under the African American Initiative moniker by Conchita Robinson and Charles Stephens with the purpose of increasing financial participation and volunteers from our community.  

AAP is open to donors with shared affinities for philanthropy, leadership and service, and members of AAP donate $1,000 a year or more to United Way of Greater Atlanta. 

A gift to AAP helps students like DeMorris. You can have a direct impact in this neighborhood. There’s so much potential to change so many lives across Greater Atlanta. Do you want to be a part of that change?  

Join AAP today to help others like DeMorris. Email aap@unitedwayatlanta.org to learn more.