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Reading to Learn Amerigroup Media Release Announcement



Literacy initiative will serve youth in Anderson, Blount, Knox, and Sevier Counties.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee (BBBS-ETN) has launched a Reading to Learn (R2L) program in January, aimed at establishing a firm foundation for students at Title I schools in the Knoxville area.

The literacy-focused initiative, funded by Amerigroup, matches mentors with elementary students who participate together in reading activities.

Reading to Learn first launched in the Tri-Cities area in November 2018 with the support of private donors. More than 80% of Tri-Cities R2L students maintained or improved their grades in all subjects, and 90% improved or maintained their language arts grades.

“The Reading to Learn program will not only improve literacy for hundreds of youth—it will ignite their potential as mentees move on to high school, postsecondary pathways, and careers,” said BBBS-ETN CEO Brent Waugh. “We are grateful for the support of Amerigroup which made this program possible.”

The R2L program is a component of Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee’s wraparound model that supports not only Littles, but their parents and families as well – connecting them with educational opportunities, access to health and healthy lifestyle resources, financial assistance, and numerous other community resources.

“Amerigroup continues to invest in our communities and provide resources for our local youth and families to enhance learning and development,” said Robert Garnett, plan president, Amerigroup Tennessee. “Social drivers of health, including education and access to learning tools and opportunities, continue to be barriers to positive health outcomes and overall wellness. Amerigroup remains committed to addressing these barriers through community relationships like BBBS-ETN to promote and encourage a healthy lifestyle.”

R2L will serve 40 mentees in year one, impacting approximately 200 individuals, and 50 in year two, for a total of 250 individuals impacted. Funding for the initiative will cover the cost of books, literacy activities, and targeted monthly youth and family support from a dedicated case worker.

About Amerigroup Tennessee

Amerigroup Tennessee, Inc. helps improve healthcare access and quality for more than 460,000 Tennessee residents who participate in the state’s various Medicaid programs. Amerigroup serves Tennesseans by developing and delivering innovative care management programs and services. Amerigroup Tennessee members are assured care that is not only accessible, but also accountable, comprehensive, integrated and patient-centered. It provides ongoing community relations and outreach to encourage members to become active participants in their healthcare. For more information about Amerigroup, please visit our website at

About Big Brothers Big Sisters

Big Brothers Big Sisters defends potential in children through strong and enduring, professionally supported one‐to‐one relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth. Children enrolled in the program achieve measurable outcomes, including improved educational success, avoidance of risky behaviors, higher aspirations, greater self-confidence, and better relationships. This mission has been the cornerstone of the organizations’ decades-long history in Tennessee.

During the COVID-19 crisis – and every day – BBBS is committed to keeping kids connected through a supportive mentor and dedicated case workers. The agency goes one step further, linking both families and caregivers with critical services, serving those affected by food insecurity, loss of income, lack of healthcare, isolation, and anxiety due to COVID-19.

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