Reading Youth Initiative

Educational enrichment programming focuses on STEM, Arts and career development


Alvernia University expands the Holleran Center for Community and Global Engagement’sReading Youth Initiative (RYI) to support educational enrichment activities in the areas of STEM and arts and culture for middle-school students in the Reading School District, beginning in the 2021-22 academic year. RYI will also work with community and business partners to implement workforce development activities for middle and high school students. Through this expansion, RYI will now offer afterschool programs to students from kindergarten through graduation.


“The Reading Youth Initiative is an innovative approach that has enriched the educational progress for elementary students in the Reading area for nearly 15 years,” said Alvernia Vice President for Community Engagement Rudy Ruth. “The success of the program at the elementary level have prepared us to meet the advanced academic education needs of the students in the Reading School District’s Southern Middle School and Reading High School.”


The new programming will combine Alvernia faculty, staff and students with local community organizations to provide advanced experiential learning opportunities that will enhance the regular school curriculum. This programming includes field trips, experiments, discovery activities, job shadowing with local partners such as the Reading Science Center, Barrio Alegria, Reading Public Museum and the O’Pake Institute for Economic Development and Entrepreneurship’sstudent-powered business incubator.


Since 2007, the RYI has offered innovative educational programs to over 1,600 elementary students in the Reading School District. Activities offered through RYI are not part of the regular academic program, taking place primarily outside of regular school hours and enhance regular school curriculum through specialized instruction and activities. All services provided to students are free of charge.


The funding for the program comes from Customers Bank as part of the Pennsylvania Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program.