11 Oct

CONTACT: Brittany.Dick, WVU Extension Service Writer/Editor, 304.293.8701,

Morgantown, W.Va.—The West Virginia University Extension Service Energy Express program was recognized Tuesday, Oct. 11 as the 2016 Red Wagon Award recipient for its commitment to helping West Virginia youths learn and grow through its summer initiatives.

West Virginia’s Promise—The Alliance for Youth, an affiliate of America’s Promise Alliance, gives the Red Wagon Award to programs and organizations that improve the well-being of children in West Virginia each year.

According to Terri Collier, WVU Extension Service academic success and literacy specialist, this isn’t the first time the program has been recognized for its commitment to children in the Mountain State. In 2009, the National Center for Summer Learning at Johns Hopkins University named Energy Express one of the nation’s best summer learning programs.

“The WVU Extension Service Energy Express program gives West Virginia youths the opportunity to discover the education and enjoyment that comes from reading, alongside their AmeriCorps mentor,” remarked Collier. “For more than two decades, youths have experienced positive outcomes and learning from participation in the program.”

An initiative under the leadership of the WVU Extension West Virginia 4-H program, Energy Express is an award-winning eight-week, summer reading and nutrition program for children living in West Virginia’s rural and low-income communities. The program is designed to provide learning opportunities and nutrition during the summer months when children are most at risk for falling behind on reading levels – a preventable loss known as the “summer slide”.

West Virginia’s Promise selects the award recipient based on the “Five Promises” of offering youths the accessibility of caring adults, a safe place to learn, healthy starts, an effective education and opportunities to help others.

“Energy Express exemplifies these five promises in the fact that we provide a safe, secure learning environment for children in the summer and two nutritional meals each day,” said Collier. “We also strive to provide young adults with the opportunity to pursue their education and help others—a hallmark aspect of our program that has proven to make a lasting impact on not only participating children, but also the many volunteers who help Energy Express thrive.”

Energy Express is a program under the leadership of WVU Extension Service’s 4-H Youth Development program. This AmeriCorps program is funded, in part, by grants from the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts and Volunteer West Virginia. Volunteer West Virginia encourages West Virginians of all ages and abilities to be involved in service to their communities.

To learn more about Energy Express, visit

The WVU Extension Service serves as an outreach division of West Virginia University. Extension has offices in all 55 counties, which provide citizens with knowledge in areas such as 4-H and youth development, agriculture, family and consumer sciences, health, leadership development and community and economic development.

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