NEWS RELEASE FROM THE UNITED WAY
Little Blue Bookshelf program begins book collection
JOPLIN, MO (May 5, 2014) - United Way Success by 6, the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce Leadership Joplin Class of 2014, and the Joplin Public Library have partnered to bring a new initiative focusing on early childhood literacy to the area. The Little Blue Bookshelf project places bookshelves stocked with gently-used or new books appropriate for children from birth - 3rd grade in the community where families with young children visit. Primarily, the project focuses on families experiencing stressful situations or crisis, and encourage children to visit the shelf and choose a book to keep and share. These books have been donated by community members.
State data shows that more than half of children in Jasper County alone are not prepared for Kindergarten in language and literacy skills. Research shows if a child is successful in Kindergarten it is likely they will be successful in third grade. If they are successful in third grade and reading on the proficient level, it is more likely they will graduate high school on time.
Little Blue Bookshelf aims to give children easy access to age appropriate books. Book ownership is important in fostering an interest in reading and a love for books. Children feel pride in owning their own books and develop confidence in reading when books are easily within reach and can be read again and again. Providing books to young children in our community is vital to fostering a love and appreciation for reading and learning for life. The goals of this program are to increase book ownership by families, encourage adult-child interactions with books, involve community members in this literacy effort through book donations, and keep books circulating within the community.
Leadership Joplin Service Project chairperson Cari Rerat, Teen Librarian with Joplin Public Library, believes the Little Blue Bookshelf project is a very visible and enjoyable way to promote reading activities in the Joplin community. The LJ Class of 2014 has plans to place 10 bookshelves with more than 500 books into the community by June. Rerat says, "Literacy skills impact every aspect of an individual's life, so making it possible for children to improve reading and communications skills through this initiative is a valuable way to help improve our community as a whole. Leadership Joplin is very grateful to those donating books to the Little Blue Bookshelf. They are a valuable part of the program's success."
Donations of gently used or new books appropriate for children from birth to teen may be dropped off at the following locations now through May 23rd:
Are you a member of a service group or organization who would like to do a book drive, be a drop off location, or host a Little Blue Bookshelf? Call the United Way at 417-624-0153 to learn more about how you can contribute to this community program.
About United Way of Southwest Missouri and Southeast Kansas
United Way is a regional network of 38 locally governed non-profit organizations that work to create lasting positive changes in both communities and in people's lives. Building on more than a century of service as the nation's preeminent community-based fundraiser, United Way engages the community to identify the underlying causes of the most significant local issues, develop strategies, and pull together financial and human resources to execute those strategies, with measurable results. Common focus areas include helping children and youth succeed, improving access to healthcare, promoting financial stability, and strengthening families. For more information about United Way, please visit www.unitedwaymokan.org.
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