YMCA READS! Awarded Grant to Engage Thousands in Service on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service
Corporation for National and Community Service, YSA (Youth Service America)
Bring Americans Together to Honor Dr. King’s Legacy
YMCA READS!, a mentoring and student assistance program sponsored by the Florida State Alliance of YMCAs (www.floridaymcas.org) is one of 17 organizations nationwide awarded grants to lead service projects and dialogue on the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service to transform Dr. King’s life and teachings into community service that helps create change in communities across the country. These organizations will bring communities together to bridge differences and address issues in economic opportunity, community health, the environment, education and literacy, disaster preparedness and response, and support veterans and military families.
The YMCA READS! Program provides free reading tutoring and mentoring services to struggling young readers throughout Florida through a public/private partnership between the Florida State Legislature, the Florida Department of Education, the Florida State Alliance of YMCAs, 10 participating YMCAs, 16 public schools and hundreds of community volunteers.
On the week prior to Martin Luther King Jr. Day (January 16), YMCA READS! participants and volunteers will partner with United Through Reading (www.unitedthroughreading.org) to assemble eight kits containing video cameras, tripods, DVDs, children’s books, cards and letters of support, and small gifts for troops being deployed overseas. Servicemen and women will be given the opportunity to be recorded on camera while reading a story to their children from afar, and their families will be recorded listening to the story. This will allow a “circle of communication” between our soldiers and their families. As parents, they will be able to remain involved in their children’s literacy acquisition. Families and servicemen and women will be able to keep the recorded stories and books as keepsakes of a time when though separated, they were able to remain “united through reading”. During the week prior to Martin Luther King Day, YMCA READS! and United Through Reading will engage 3,000 volunteers to write letters, assemble kits, get donations of books and morale-boosting items. We invite you to participate in our project: contact Madeleine Hennings, YMCA READS! Statewide Director for information at mhennings@TheSarasotaY.org.