Heart of Indiana United Way’s Summer Book Give-Away Program Expands
Nearly 1,200 Muncie students were able to choose and take home 12 books each to keep and read over the summer through Heart of Indiana United Way’s Summer Book Give-Away program. In its fifth year, the program doubled by serving preschool through fifth-grade students at South View, Longfellow, and Grissom Elementary Schools.
“United Way is on a mission to grow a love of reading amongst students and their families,” explained President & CEO Jenni Marsh. “Having access to books and words in the home over the summer not only helps achieve that—but it helps kiddos maintain and even gain in their reading skills.”
Developed after a research-based program out of Atlanta, Summer Book Give-Away is like a book fair—only all the books are free of charge to students and their families. Two of the key components of the program that help students maintain and improve their reading skills are that they select their own books and that they receive a minimum of 12 books.
“With these books, students can read on their own, or share with siblings and adults which means they are more likely to keep turning pages. We have seen the impact in how they come back to school in August. They are ready to read more and have a successful school year.” Marsh explained.
The Summer Book Give-Away program was funded by a grant from the Hamer D. and Phyllis C. Shafer Foundation, with in-kind support from Northwest Bank and Classroom Connections of East Central Indiana.
Volunteers play a key role in the program by helping students to shop for their books and restocking titles throughout the day. “Volunteers are the life force of this event. And I know for a fact that virtually all of them love it as much as the students do!” Marsh added.
In addition to United Way’s most loyal donors and volunteers, Exchange Club of Muncie, Ivy Tech, Open Door Health Services, Horizon Convention Center/Muncie-Delaware County Economic Development Alliance, and Whitinger & Company sent members and employees to help.
Anyone interested in supporting Summer Book Give-Away in the future can donate to “Summer Book Give-Away” at www.heartofindiana.org/donate.