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Project Transformation Tennessee, a literacy-based ministry that served 394 children and youth last summer in Nashville, will open its first satellite program this summer in Rutherford County.

The nonprofit organization is partnering with Murfreesboro City Schools, Middle Tennessee State University and churches throughout the community to bring its unique model to Murfreesboro to serve children in the Patterson Park community.

Every Monday through Thursday from June 1 to July 23, Project Transformation will operate free day camps at Key Memorial United Methodist Church, 806 E. State Street. The site will serve up to 60 elementary-age children and will be staffed by eight college-age interns.

Literacy is a key component of Project Transformation’s programming, including an extensive children’s library and daily one-on-one reading time with each child by a community volunteer.IMG_5563 2

“We are very excited that the children of Murfreesboro will have this literacy opportunity,” said Linda Gilbert, director of Murfreesboro City Schools. “Reading is the basis for academic and personal success, and we welcome community partners who bring their talents and time to help our children become better readers.”

Beyond the reading component, Project Transformation interns will lead children in Bible lessons, creative arts, recreation and other enrichment activities. At the same time, the interns, who will live on the campus of MTSU, will be exposed to leadership development and vocational ministry opportunities.

Project Transformation Tennessee launched in 2012 in Nashville and was modeled after Project Transformation in Texas, which has served more than 10,000 children and youth in the Dallas area since its beginning in 1998.

“This is a proven model that offers a structure for serving low-income children and youth, connecting churches with their neighborhoods, and helping other area churches partner in a new and relevant ministry,” said Courtney Aldrich, executive director of Project Transformation Tennessee. “We have chosen Rutherford County as our first satellite program because of the combination of need, resources and community partners who are willing to step forward and support this multi-dimensional ministry.”

In addition to the Rutherford County satellite, Project Transformation will operate five program sites in Nashville managed by 38 more young adults living on the campus of Belmont University. The Rutherford County and Nashville interns will gather every Friday for leadership development programs and outings.

“We’re especially excited to help children in the Patterson Park community to improve their reading skills,” said Aldrich, noting that more than 99 percent of the program’s participants either improved or maintained their reading level last summer in Nashville. “It’s well-established that summer reading loss widens the achievement gap between low-income children and their more affluent peers, while proficiency in reading is foundational to lifelong learning.”

To learn more about Project Transformation, visit pttennessee.org or call 615-810-9620 to find out more about the Rutherford County program.