Dozens of honorary readers celebrated Valentine’s Day by reading books to elementary students across San Diego County.
Hosted by Rolling Readers USA and Mission Federal Credit Union, the second Share Your Love of Reading event raised awareness about the importance of literacy and reading aloud to children through a series of read-aloud sessions in classrooms at 15 sites throughout San Diego County.
“This is really helping a lot of students who might not be really excited about being in school and learning,” said Wendy Williams, who is on the Board of Directors for Rolling Readers, a nonprofit organization that works with underprivileged children.
Every week throughout the academic year, Rolling Readers’ Read-Aloud volunteers visit low-income schools and community sites to read to children. The nonprofit currently serves 6,100 children and has 205 volunteers at 43 schools, two libraries and the San Diego Center for Children.
In addition, Rolling Readers hosts book giveaways so children in the organization’s Read-Aloud program can receive new books of their very own. Rolling Readers has given out more than 500,000 books since it was founded in 1991.
With the support of title sponsor Mission Federal Credit Union, this year the Share Your Love of Reading campaign is also a month-long online donation drive. Rolling Readers hopes to raise $100,000 by the end of February to help purchase books for the organization’s book giveaways.
“Reading is that core skill that helps kids achieve all subjects,” said Tricia Link, vice president of external affairs and community relations at Mission Federal Credit Union. “We just wanted to do whatever we could to help raise some money for Rolling Readers as well as create more awareness because they are just a fantastic nonprofit that works really hard.”
Compared to 31 honorary readers during the inaugural event in 2012, this year, 43 elected and school officials, and local celebrities visited schools throughout the county.
Honorary readers included San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, Fox 5 Reporter Heather Ford, retired 10News Anchor Hal Clement, and radio personalities Frankie from Channel 933 and Haze from STAR 94.1, among many other local public figures.
Mayor Art Madrid and La Mesa-Mount Helix Patch editor Eric Yates also read to 2nd grade students at La Mesa Dale Elementary School.
“It’s a great campaign to get the community onboard and express the importance of reading,” said Williams, who encouraged the public to make donations. A donation of $20 helps Rolling Readers buy five books.
“It really makes a difference,” she added. “It not only helps students as they grow to be adults, but it will also eventually help our community because they will be better citizens.”
Editor's note: Patch is the media sponsor of Share Your Love of Reading