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Reading program one of 64 in U.S., Canada to receive funds

A grant totaling more than $91,000 from the State Farm Youth Advisory Board will help UNT donate 12,000 new books over the next year, doubling the amount donated last year.

Since 1999, the university‘s Success for Life through Reading program has expanded early childhood literacy by ensuring that low-income children in Denton area schools receive new books.

The reading program is one of 64 community organizations across the United States and Canada to receive a youth-led service-learning grant from the State Farm Youth Advisory Board.

The grant will allow the program to reach more than 1,000 students.

“This grant has truly opened new doors for us, enabling us to build new partnerships with Denton ISD, expand our program to six new partner schools, nearly double our volunteers, and connect with local high schools to involve their students in our efforts to increase early childhood literacy in north Texas,” said Rachel Yedlowski, service learning coordinator in the College of Public Affairs and Community Service.

The grant also will expand Success for Life through Reading during the critical summer months, when many children have little to no access to books because school is not in session, Yedlowski said. 

Program volunteers work with 12 preschools and elementary schools in Denton, Corinth, Crossroads, Aubrey and Shady Shores with the goal of ensuring that every child goes home with five new books each semester. Volunteers visit the same classroom each week with a new set of books, read and conduct activities, such as vocabulary games or classroom scavenger hunts, based on the book’s theme.

The State Farm Youth Advisory Board is a diverse group of 30 youth, ages 17-20, who were chosen through a competitive process to lead and oversee this $5 million per year signature service-learning initiative. The Youth Advisory Board identified the issues, issued competitive grants and will now provide technical assistance, communication and oversight to grantees. - Leslie Wimmer, News Promotions

Posted on: Mon 28 November 2011

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