Last month, we had the opportunity to volunteer with the team over at MIDFLORIDA Credit Union to assist in packing and sorting children’s books for its 16th annual Gift of Reading program. Every year, thousands of kindergarten students in Polk County + beyond receive a new book thanks to the program, which is designed to give back + instill a love of reading.
Bonus: Every book comes with a bookmark that can be redeemed to open a Youth Savings Accounts (read: savings account designed for kids), which helps teach little ones the hows + whys of saving money.
Some of the sorting and distributing of the books | Photo by the LALtoday team
What we tried:
Volunteering with the marketing department from MIDFLORIDA Credit Union to help them gear up for their Gift of Reading program.
Sorting this year’s books + correlating bookmarks for Florida schools
Reorganizing book boxes, each with a specific number of books per school and per county to prepare for shipment
What not to miss:
The books are distributed to 174 participating schools across the state
Besides providing educational enrichment for students, the program also makes opening a savings account more widely accessible for kids through the redeemable bookmark
MIDFLORIDA’s redeemable bookmark | Photo by the LALtoday team
What we’re still talking about:
While chatting with the MIDFLORIDA team, I (City Editor Katelyn) learned that for some students, the book they’ll receive through the Gift of Reading program will be the first book they’ve ever owned.
The Gift of Reading program, by the numbers:
18,722 books will be distributed this year
174 schools across 15 counties will benefit from the program
Pre-sorted book ready to be organized | Photo by the LALtoday team
How you can experience this:
While most of the work is done behind the scenes, kids at participating schools will be able to enjoy a live reading of this year’s book by the MIDFLORIDA team between Mon., Dec. 6 and Fri., Dec. 17. For those unable to attend in person, they’ll also offer a virtual reading.
Pro Tip: Youth Savings Accounts can be opened by any child — as long as a parent or guardian is present.
Things to know:
Experience: MIDFLORIDA’S Gift of Reading Program
Price: $5 or a redeemable bookmark to open up a Youth Savings Account
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