TOPEKA, KAN. – United Way’s annual Day of Action served as the launch for United Way of Greater Topeka’s Virtual Book Drive June 21 to July 31. The organization’s Young Leaders Society hopes to raise $2,500 so that its Junior Leader Readers program can donate 1,000 books to school students in Shawnee County.
Launched in 2010, the Junior Leader Reader program has distributed more than 12,000 books to area students. Volunteers in the program visit area kindergartens, read a book to students and then give each child a copy of the book to take home and enjoy. Books are also distributed to area preschools. The project supports United Way of Greater Topeka’s community impact goal of reducing by 50 percent the achievement gap in third-grade reading.
“By the third grade, reading comprehension can make or break a child’s success because at that critical time, school focus transitions from learning to read to reading to learn,” says Kim Konecny of the Young Leaders Society. “This is why we emphasize enjoyment of reading among younger children so they get an early start on succeeding in school.”
Volunteers secure sponsorship from corporations and individuals to purchase the books. As little as $10 can purchase four books. To make a donation, visit : http://supporters.firstbook.org/goto/jlrtopeka
Once the book drive ends on July 31, Young Leaders Society members will select age-appropriate books from First Books and schedule readings for the 2013-2014 school year. Past books donated through Junior Leader Readers include “Gilbert the Surfer Dude” and “Cat in the Hat.”
If you are interested in being a volunteer reader, please contact Sean Frost at United Way at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (785) 228.5128.
ABOUT UNITED WAY
United Way brings together people, companies and nonprofits to create positive sustainable change in our community. By focusing on education, income and health, we help more children graduate and get stable jobs, help families become financially stable and improve the overall health of our community. United Way remains dedicated to Basic Needs including food, shelter, rent and utilities, health and prescription access and safety from domestic violence.
For more than 80 years United Way of Greater Topeka has been improving and changing lives. Since 1980, United Way has invested more than $105 million into the community.