To celebrate the end of a successful first year of the ‘Pen Friends’ program, Drax employees took part in a ‘mobile parade’ where they decorated their cars and visited Morehouse and Delta Elementary Schools to meet the pupils they had been corresponding with.
Volunteers also presented their Pen Friends with small gifts in congratulations for their hard work during the past school year.
Renewable energy company Drax partnered with United Way of Northeast Louisiana last year to introduce the ‘Pen Friends’ program to elementary schools in Morehouse Parish as part of the company’s commitment to supporting education and skills development.
Drax Communications Officer Annmarie Sartor said: “It’s incredibly rewarding to know we are addressing and helping to improve the reading level of children in our Drax-Morehouse community. As a company, we are committed to supporting the education of future generations and this program also gives our employees a chance to volunteer and make a difference. I hope we can expand the program next school year to help even more children with their reading and writing.”
The Pen Friends program is part of United Way’s ‘READ.LEARN.SUCCEED.’ initiative which aims to improve children’s literacy skills and increase social mobility. The program was introduced this school year at Delta and Morehouse Elementary Schools and offers second and third grade students the opportunity to exchange letters with volunteers as a way to practice their reading and writing.
Each month, participating students receive a letter and a packet filled with books, activities, and other educational tools to aid their learning.
United Way Community Impact Initiatives Director Michelle Saucer said: “The goal of our ‘READ.LEARN.SUCCEED.’ initiative is to practice and sharpen reading and writing skills and build positive connections with our second and third graders. We appreciate Drax’s commitment to helping United Way ensure the success of our children and youth.”
The program was initially developed by United Way in 2013 to tackle the issue of children falling behind their expected reading grade level. Drax has extended the program to Morehouse Parish, home of one of its pellet plants, as part of the company’s focus on improving education in local communities.
Drax Regional Controller Rob Whitten said: “It was such a great opportunity to be a part of the Pen Friends program in Morehouse Parish. Being able to meet our pen friends at the school and see all the other children who took part was a fantastic experience. They were an impressive, polite and appreciative group and I hope they enjoyed the program as much as we did!”
Drax is committed to supporting the communities local to its operations through a variety of measures that include sponsoring educational programs and providing support in times of crisis, including during the Covid-19 pandemic and natural disasters such as Hurricane Ida.
Feature image caption: Pupils at Morehouse Elementary School
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Drax Group’s purpose is to enable a zero carbon, lower cost energy future and in 2019 announced a world-leading ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) technology.
Drax’s around 3,000 employees operate across three principal areas of activity – electricity generation, electricity sales to business customers and compressed wood pellet production and supply to third parties. For more information visit www.drax.com
Drax owns and operates a portfolio of renewable electricity generation assets in England and Scotland. The assets include the UK’s largest power station, based at Selby, North Yorkshire, which supplies five percent of the country’s electricity needs.
Having converted Drax Power Station to use sustainable biomass instead of coal it has become the UK’s biggest renewable power generator and the largest decarbonisation project in Europe. It is also where Drax is piloting the groundbreaking negative emissions technology BECCS within its CCUS (Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage) Incubation Area.
Its pumped storage, hydro and energy from waste assets in Scotland include Cruachan Power Station – a flexible pumped storage facility within the hollowed-out mountain Ben Cruachan.
The Group also aims to build on its BECCS innovation at Drax Power Station with a target to deliver 4Mt of negative CO2 emissions each year from new-build BECCS outside of the UK by 2030 and is currently developing models for North American and European markets.
Pellet production and supply:
The Group has 17 operational pellet plants and developments with nameplate capacity of 4.6Mt, which will increase to c.5Mt once developments are complete.
Drax is targeting 8Mt of production capacity by 2030, which will require the development of over 3Mt of new biomass pellet production capacity. The pellets are produced using materials sourced from sustainably managed working forests and are supplied to third party customers in Europe and Asia for the generation of renewable power.
Drax’s pellet mills supply around 30% of the biomass used at its own power station in North Yorkshire, England to generate flexible, renewable power for the UK’s homes and businesses.
Drax is the largest supplier of renewable electricity to UK businesses, supplying 100% renewable electricity as standard to more than 370,000 sites through Drax and Opus Energy.
It offers a range of energy-related services including energy optimisation, as well as electric vehicle strategy and management.
To find out more go to the website www.energy.drax.com