Capital Area United Way celebrated the holidays with third- and fourth-graders at Redemptorist St. Gerard School in Baton Rouge who have been participating in Vello, a one-on-one online tutoring program that helps local children improve their reading skills. United Way awarded the school with a mini-grant of $1,000 to help buy new literacy materials for the classrooms, which will help the children to learn to read at their grade level. 

“Vello is the best way to have a direct impact on a child’s life,” said Melanie Henderson, Community Impact Manager/Volunteer Initiatives. “With the assistance of tutors from various companies and community members, children are learning to be successful in and out of the classroom by practicing their reading skills and building upon what they know. All of us at United Way are happy to partner with Redemptorist St. Gerard in order to help advance children’s reading skills.” 

Since the start of the school year, 300 tutoring sessions have been held with Redemptorist St. Gerard students. In addition to literacy materials, the grant will allow the school to purchase updated teacher guides and resource books for their curriculum and a new printer.

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Pictured are Redemptorist St. Gerard students from teacher Jo Thompson’s classes along with Father Tat Hoang CSsR, pastor of St. Gerard Majella Church in Baton Rouge, far right, and United Way’s Melanie Henderson, center back row. Photo provided by Ashley Montagnino | Capital Area United Way 


If you are interested in volunteering with these students, visit for more information or contact Melanie Henderson at melanieh@ or 225-382-3382.