Power Lunch Works with Schools to Improve Student Reading Abilities

Dec 14, 2011 3:00 PM ET

Giving New Meaning to "Power Lunch"

The phrase “power lunch” in business usually refers to a group of business associates going out to a nice lunch to discuss strategy, make new connections, or seal a deal. My power lunch last week included Green Eggs and Ham (the Dr. Seuss kind) with my new second-grade buddy, Antwan.

Thanks to PepsiCo’s support of the Power Lunch program through the amazing organization WITS (Working in the Schools), a dozen fellow employees and I hopped on a yellow school bus last Thursday to go to our students’ school and read one-on-one over our lunch hour. Some volunteers read with a student every Thursday, while other volunteers, like myself, alternate and read bi-weekly. By the number of returning volunteers from last year, it is evident that we see the incredible value in the program and have a lot of fun, too.

More than 67% of all U.S. fourth graders are not reading at grade level, according to the 2009 National Assessment of Education Progress Reading Test. At the school where we volunteer, that figure is 55.5%. Therefore, the need is great for students to have access to programs like WITS to improve their reading proficiency.

The first session of each school year starts with students and volunteers signing a contract to put their best efforts forward in the program and talking through some “getting to know you” questions that build an instant bond. All I had to do was say that my name is Jennifer. Antwan’s smile and observation, “Like Jennifer Hudson’s name,” gave me instant credibility.

Continue reading about the Power Lunch programe.  

About PepsiCo 
PepsiCo offers the world's largest portfolio of billion-dollar food and beverage brands, including 19 different product lines that generate more than $1 billion in annual retail sales each. Our main businesses -- Quaker, Tropicana, Gatorade, Frito-Lay, and Pepsi Cola -- also make hundreds of other enjoyable foods and beverages that are respected household names throughout the world. With net revenues of approximately $60 billion, PepsiCo's people are united by our unique commitment to sustainable growth by investing in a healthier future for people and our planet, which we believe also means a more successful future for PepsiCo. We call this commitment Performance with Purpose: PepsiCo's promise to provide a wide range of foods and beverages for local tastes; to find innovative ways to minimize our impact on the environment, including by conserving energy and water usage, and reducing packaging volume; to provide a great workplace for our associates; and to respect, support, and invest in the local communities where we operate. For more information, please visit www.pepsico.com.   PEPSI19569