Murthy Law Firm founder and president, Sheela Murthy, joined prominent businesswomen from around the region at a reception for members of the Women’s Leadership Council (WLC) of the United Way of Central Maryland (UWCM). The Murthy Law Firm sponsored this event, which was held at the Center Club in Baltimore on June 10, 2013.
The evening began with a stirring welcome address from Ms. Murthy, who shared her excitement about the socially transformative work that United Way does – every day – here in our community and around the world. She spoke with heartfelt enthusiasm about what United Way means to her, and why she gives so generously to the organization, not only as a leading donor, but as an active member of UWCM’s board of directors and a member of the Women’s Leadership Council.
Before introducing Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Murthy praised the Mayor’s efforts to end homelessness in Baltimore, specifically her work on the Journey Home, a project the city has undertaken in collaboration with the United Way. Murthy said she is proud to serve as honorary co-chair for the Mayor’s the Journey Home fundraiser, this fall.
The event’s keynote speaker was Stacey Stewart, U.S. President of United Way Worldwide, who highlighted a major educational initiative of the Women’s Leadership Council: the ReadLearnSucceed program, which works to improve the literacy skills of young children in several disadvantaged communities in the Baltimore area. The program recruits volunteers to read to children on a regular basis, which helps build the foundational literacy skills children need to succeed in school and in later life – as United Way puts it: to learn to read and read to learn.
What makes this program a necessity? Stewart said that 57 percent of Maryland’s third graders can’t read at grade level. This matters because children who read poorly in fourth grade face a dim future, and Stewart said the statistics bear this out. Such children are more likely to drop out of high school, placing them at risk for a host of other social ills: poverty, drug use, teenage parenthood, and criminality. If you want a happy ending, Ms. Stewart argued, you have to change the beginning, which is what the United Way’s ReadLearnSucceed program is all about.
Stewart’s address was at once heartbreaking and inspirational: though it exposed a deep rent in the social fabric, it also showed how much can be done to fix it, when thoughtful and committed professional women work together.
Anyone can help! If you would like to make a difference in a child’s future, consider becoming a ReadLearnSucceed volunteer. The time commitment is small, but the dividends are huge for our children, and our society! Further information is available online.
Copyright © 2013, SHEELA MURTHY. All Rights Reserved