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PRESS RELEASE: Los Angeles Dodgers Alumnus Matt Luke to Read to Children in Read to a Child’s Lunchtime Reading Program

Read to a Child and Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation Event during National Reading Month Highlights the Importance of Improving Children’s Literacy Skills

Los Angeles, CA – National non-profit literacy and mentoring organization Read to a Child® and the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation today announced that alumnus Los Angeles Dodgers Alumnus Matt Luke will visit the Juan Cabrillo Elementary School in Hawthorne, CA on Wednesday March 22 and read aloud to elementary school students in Read to a Child’s Lunchtime Reading Program. The event (which begins at 12:00 noon) highlights Read to a Child’s ongoing partnership with the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation in improving children’s literacy skills among those most at-risk in the community, while underscoring how partnerships with area corporations create better opportunities for underserved children.

Children from both the Juan Cabrillo and Peter Burnett Elementary Schools will participate in the event. These two schools are among the six public elementary schools in greater Los Angeles where Read to a Child operates its Lunchtime Reading Program. Across the US, Read to a Child manages 1,700 adult volunteers from 125 corporations who visit urban elementary schools once a week and read aloud one-on-one to children during lunch. This time spent with a caring adult ignites a love of reading in struggling children, while providing students with literacy skills and self-confidence to succeed in school and in life.

“We are pleased to support Read to a Child and its innovative model of utilizing adult volunteers from area corporations to act as reading mentors in public schools,” said Nichol Whiteman Executive Director of the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation. “Initiatives and programs designed to improve the lives and literacy skills of those most underserved in the community are a significant focus of our foundation. We are honored to bring Dodger players and alumni into classrooms as positive role models in order to highlight the importance of literacy and help build a lifelong love of reading at an early age.”

“We are thankful to the Dodger organization for raising awareness of the literacy crisis and to the Dodgers Foundation for their financial support, both of which are critical in enabling Read to a Child to grow to serve the hundreds of struggling children that remain on our waiting lists across greater Los Angeles,” said Read to a Child CEO, Paul Lamoureux. “Because 80% of 4th graders from low-income families in the United States are not proficient readers and one-fourth won’t graduate from high school, support is imperative in order to help under-resourced public elementary schools address this crisis.”

At Wednesday’s event, students from Juan Cabrillo and Peter Burnett Elementary Schools will present Matt Luke with a personal copy of Dr. Seuss’s ‘Oh the Places You’ll Go!’, signed by the children in the Lunchtime Reading Program. Mr. Luke will then read this book aloud to the students. Because the book has a cheerful, open-ended conclusion, Mr. Luke will likely elicit strong opinions from all of the students about what places they would like to visit and what things they might discover as they go through life.

Volunteer reading mentors from Read to a Child corporate partners Mattel, Wpromote and AT&T will also be on hand for the event, along with their reading “mentees.” These volunteers typically dedicate one lunch hour per week during the school year to mentor a child struggling with reading and this beneficial relationship often lasts for four years.

“I deeply value our partnership with Read to a Child because I see the results of the dedicated mentors who come each week to read with our students,” said Margaret Lynch, Principal of Juan Cabrillo Elementary School. “In addition to the mentoring relationships that develop, I see our students learning to love books.”

Added Laura Sullivan, Principal of Peter Burnett Elementary School, “I believe strongly that developing a love of reading gives children an important tool to ensure that they are lifelong learners. Our partnership with Read to a Child is an important part of helping our students become lifelong readers and lifelong learners.”

About Read to a Child:
Read to a Child, www.readtoachild.org, is a national nonprofit literacy and mentoring organization that inspires caring adults to read aloud to at-risk children to create better opportunities for the child’s future. Research shows that reading aloud to children is the single most important activity for eventual success in reading and, thus, likelihood for success in school, career and life. When an adult reads aloud to a child, both parties have a joyful, rewarding experience that instills a love of reading, improves literacy skills and enhances a child’s self-confidence. Read to a Child’s Lunchtime Reading Program utilizes 1,700 volunteers from more than 125 socially-minded organizations who read aloud to more than 1,400 at-risk elementary school students in greater Boston, Connecticut, Detroit, Los Angeles and Miami.

About the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation:
LADF is the official team charity of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Its primary focus is to support cornerstone programs in Sports + Recreation, Education + Literacy and Health + Wellness benefitting children and families in need throughout the greater Los Angeles region. By leveraging strategic partnerships, the mission is to harness the power of the Dodger brand and the passion our fans have for Los Angeles into a vehicle for positive change in underserved communities. Visit the Dodgers Foundation online at www.dodgers.com/ladf, follow them on Twitter @DodgersFdn,Instagram @dodgersfoundation and like them on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/LosAngelesDodgersFoundation

Media contact:
Alex Fey
Los Angeles Director
Read to a Child
c: 714-398-9246
w: 310-208-5310
alex.fey@readtoachild.org