The Salina Area United Way van delivered more than 2000 free children’s books across the community this summer.
The organization used its Community Action Mobile Outreach (CAMO) van to get 2030 books to young readers during the five-week Raising Active Wild Readers (RAWR) program at four summer meal sites. Additionally, from June 22 to 26, 155 books were distributed from City parks during the United Way Worldwide Week of Action.
“I was surprised at just how many families took advantage of this reading program,” said David Driscoll, a Salina Area United Way Program Committee Volunteer. “This justifies the continued need to support youth reading by recycling books within our community.”
Parent Vicky Lauseng said the program is a wonderful service at a time when new books are less readily available because of the COVID virus.
“Despite the challenges that had to be overcome with social distancing, I appreciate how our community made sure kids’ bodies and minds were fed,” Lauseng, the mother of two children who participated.
A goal of the local United Way is to increase the high school graduation rate. Making books more widely available to children throughout the year is vital for reading success and graduation rate improvement. Salina Area United Way Program Director Brenda Gutierrez shares a thank you to all helping with RAWR. This summer, 42 volunteers invested their time to local help youth and families.
Through the community’s generosity, 3000-plus children’s books were collected during a July book drive. Some were placed in the “Free Little’ libraries across the city to expand the RAWR program reach.
“RAWR not only is our chance to encourage children to read but also to engage these young minds in the importance of community support,” Driscoll added.
Program leaders and volunteers thank area residents who collected children’s books and delivered them to the United Way office downtown, and other supporters, Salina Public Library, OCCK Transportation, Martinelli’s Little Italy, McDonald’s, and Freddy’s Frozen Custard.
Salina Area United Way’s initiatives include programs to improve early grade reading proficiency, keep students on track for high school graduation, and help them become college or career ready.