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Lisa Fronsman from the Lake County Family Resource Center
accepts books collected by Calpine
(August 1, 2012, Ukiah, CA) In June, United Way of the Wine Country held a children’s book drive in Mendocino and Lake Counties to benefit local children who don’t have ready access to the library, or books at home. The book drive exceeded expectations by collecting more than 850 books between the two counties. FIRST 5 Mendocino County and Lake Family Resource Center will be distributing the books to local children who participate in their early reading programs during the summer.
Reading is one of the most important skills a child learns, and is an indicator of future success. Low-income students who do not have access to books at home during the summer will lose the equivalent of two months of reading instruction compared to their middle and upper-income peers. Over time, this summer learning-loss contributes to a widening achievement gap. One area United Way is focusing on is increasing the high school graduation rates by working with partners on early school readiness, especially as 65% of third graders living in Lake County are reading below proficiency levels, which increases to 73% of third graders in Mendocino County.
The book drive was sponsored by MendoLake Credit Union, Savings Bank of Mendocino County, JDSU, and Exchange Bank. Book drop-off locations included the sponsors as well as Umpqua Bank (Kelseyville and Lakeport); Redwood Health Club (Ukiah), Redwood Credit Union (Point Arena); and at the United Way office in Ukiah (co-located at ARC / the Boys and Girls Club).
"The enthusiasm and generosity demonstrated by our communities during the book drives show a great degree of support for children, especially those in need. While providing a book for a child may seem like a small act, the knowledge and inspiration a book provides can open a child’s life to endless possibilities," said Mari Rodin, United Way Regional Manager, Mendocino and Lake Counties.
Ensuring a child has books at home to practice their reading skills is just one way United Way is focusing on issues in education and providing support to children and families throughout the year. United Way of the Wine Country is currently working with the Lakeport Unified School District and the Lake County Office of Education to launch School of Hope at Lakeport Elementary School. Schools of Hope is an early grade reading initiative that places trained volunteers in the schools to work one-on-one with kindergarten through third graders. Anyone interested in becoming a Schools of Hope tutor, is urged to contact Cheryl Trammel-George at 707.262.3009 or email@example.com for more information.