H.U.G. Reading Program Helps Us Grow


Did you know that 60% of 3rd graders nationally are NOT proficient readers?


Help Us Grow influences 2nd and 3rd graders academically and socially. We use a 1 to 1 evidence-based curriculum to HELP US GROW stronger students. We want to raise the 3rd grade national proficiency average of 40%. 


H.U.G. engages volunteers to share their experience and wisdom with students either by becoming a reading tutor or by becoming one of our BE THE DIFFERENCE speakers.  These experiences afford volunteers the opportunity to see first-hand how they are making a positive impact on the lives of children in our community.  

Wendy  McCarty, VP Operations, The Kroger Co. Louisville Division

Wendy McCarty, VP Operations, The Kroger Co. Louisville Division

At Kroger, we are dedicated to Our Purpose: to Feed the Human Spirit™   We focus on the experiences we create for our associates, our customers and our communities. We are intimately involved with our local neighborhoods. We feed the hearts, minds and stomachs of so many people, every day, in Louisville. 

As a member of the H.U.G. board of directors, I am honored to help children grow and expand their reading skills on their journey to becoming strong, confident and successful adults who can “be the difference” in their community.

That is why it has been so easy for me to bring my passion and commitment to the work of H.U.G.  We have embarked upon important work together. We support H.U.G.’s goals of empowering young people while encouraging our Kroger volunteers to make a one-on-one difference.  Both fit naturally into my mission as a person and a leader for the Kroger Co.

 As we fulfill our vision together for friendly and caring communities, H.U.G. is a natural fit.  I knew right away that our Kroger team would step up in a big way to adopt Wheatley Elementary, a school right in our neighborhood.  Nearby, we have two stores: our Broadway Kroger and the Portland neighborhood Kroger.  The children we are coming to know are our future Kroger associates, customers and community leaders.  We must help them grow!  

We have recruited a group of more than 25 Kroger associates who are serving Wheatley Elementary children every Thursday afternoon.  While we are still new to the program, I can already attest that what we gain from time with these young people far outweighs anything we give.   

As a leader of The Kroger Co., I am honored to combine Our Purpose with H.U.G.’s reading program to be “difference makers” together in our community.

Tony Kemper, Head of School, The de Paul School

Tony Kemper, Head of School, The de Paul School

“H.U.G. features individualized and informed instruction to children in a caring environment.  The level of engagement between student and tutor is impressive.  Within the one hour session, students enjoy lessons which teach personal-social skills, word attack, and comprehension.  It's an important program of wonderful reading instruction and abundant smiles.”

Tracy Barber, Principal, Dunn Elementary School

Tracy Barber, Principal, Dunn Elementary School

"Do you enjoy reading?  Do you want to leave an imprint on a child’s academic growth?  If so, the H.U.G. program is the perfect place for YOU!  The program is designed to Help Us Grow as primary readers in elementary school.  Research shows that building relationships with students is an effective strategy to increase reading aptitude and achievement.  Additionally, the personal connection you will have with a student is a priceless gift to both the tutor and the learner.

If you are thinking, “I am not sure if I can teach a child to read.”  No worries, the H.U.G. program will equip you with the research-based training you need to ensure the growth and success of each student.  As the principal of Dunn Elementary, I can testify that this program is authentic.  Giving a small amount of your time makes a tremendous difference in developing lifelong readers! "