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'Book on into Reading' Book Drive a Success

AARP Colorado and Serve Colorado - Governor's Commission on Community Service gave out hundreds of books donated by people in two Colorado communities to benefit local children and their families.

The “Book on into Reading” program, in its second year, was so successful that most children received two books to keep and many more stocked in the library of the Riverside Education Center, an after-school tutoring and enrichment program, in Grand Junction. The Grand Junction and Fruita Chambers of Commerce helped by collecting and storing many of the books during the drive that ended earlier this month.

In Larimer County, the Fort Collins Senior Center served as a drop-off point for donated books. The books collected there, and also accepted and stored by the Volunteers of America in Fort Collins, went to children and families that visit Homeless Gear, a nonprofit program of United Way of Larimer County, which provides emergency overnight shelter, among other services, to the area’s homeless population.

The "Book on into Reading" book drive for elementary school children is designed to help ensure that all Colorado children become successful readers by the end of the third grade.

“On the first day of the book drive, a truck delivered 13 boxes of mostly new children’s books in Grand Junction,” said Cathy Lasnik, AARP Colorado senior program specialist and AARP Create The Good lead. “People in both communities have come through and made a difference for the kids and it’s been a heart-warming experience to see huge donations and then to see the excitement and smiles on the faces of the children when they get to pick out their very own books.”

In Larimer County, Homeless Gear serves homeless and near homeless populations. The organization hosts a quarterly distribution event, in which supplies, like outdoor gear and toiletries are provided. The event last month also added books for children to the mix.

“This is important because some students are not in school consistently and this also gives them something they can call their own,” Lasnik said.

The books ranged in subjects from classic fairytales to math, science and English. Educators associated with both the Riverside Education Center in Grand Junction and Homeless Gear in Larimer County made a plea for bilingual reading materials, which they say help parents in Spanish-speaking homes to read with their children, which is important for child literacy.

Learn more online about the Riverside Education Center and Homeless Gear.

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