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Read to a Child announces the ‘Spark Something Meaningful’ Campaign during National Reading Month

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Goal of $100,000 Will ‘Help Kids in Need Love to Read’ Through 6,000 One-on-One Reading Sessions with Caring Adults Nationwide

WELLESLEY, MA, March 16, 2016 – National non-profit literacy and mentoring organization Read to a Child® is hosting its third annual online fundraising campaign ‘Spark Something Meaningful’ during March to ‘Help Kids in Need Love to Read.’ By raising $100,000 in March, which is National Reading Month, Read to a Child can provide 6,000 additional reading sessions to at-risk children in the next school year.

Astoundingly, 80% of 4th graders from low-income families in the United States are not proficient in reading and 26% will not graduate from high school. The American Academy of Pediatrics official policy recommends that doctors “prescribe” reading aloud to children as a critical component of how adults can support children’s healthy development.

To combat this literacy crisis, Read to a Child enlists volunteer reading mentors to 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 the skills and confidence to reverse the cycle of illiteracy.

“Alarmingly, 2/3rds of low-income children who are not proficient readers by 4th grade will end up on welfare or in jail,” said Read to a Child CEO, Paul Lamoureux. “By participating in this campaign you can help society as a whole as we give at-risk children a better chance to succeed in school and in life. You can also have a whole lot of fun as you inspire others to support children’s literacy and cast daily votes for your favorite children’s books as we work our way down to the Final Four and Champion!”

The fundraising campaign features a fun ‘March Madness’ themed ‘Book Bracket Challenge’ where iconic children’s book titles will face off on Read to a Child’s Facebook page every workday in March. By popular vote, the initial lineup of 32 children’s books will be narrowed to a ‘sweet sixteen’, ‘elite eight,’ ‘final four’ and ultimately a ‘champion.’

‘Spark Something Meaningful’ aims to create an inspirational awareness movement across social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter, during National Reading Month in March. Supporters and fundraisers will help spread the message ‘Help Kids in Need Love to Read’ by sharing a personal story about who sparked their love of reading in a social media post. The post, along with a favorite book ‘selfie’ image, is then passed along to networks of friends and family. By sharing personal stories about the importance and joys of reading, the organization hopes to engage and inspire online supporters and influencers to help raise funds and awareness.

All proceeds from the campaign will go to Read to a Child to fund its lunchtime reading program, which pairs more than 1,150 at-risk elementary school children with volunteer reading mentors. Once a week, these caring corporate volunteers spend their lunch hour reading aloud to their student partners. This simple, yet profound, act has been shown to foster a love of reading, improve literacy skills and boost confidence in struggling children.

Visionary Sponsors: Arclight Capital Partners, Eastern Bank and Pitney Bowes:

“Read to a Child’s online fundraising campaign is a strategic approach to building literacy, creative thinking and lifelong learning among children in our community. Pitney Bowes is honored to be a part of this innovative program,” said Kathleen Ryan Mufson, President of the Pitney Bowes Foundation. “
“Arclight is delighted to be a Visionary Sponsor of Read to a Child’s annual online fundraiser,” says Mark Tarini, Partner at Arclight Capital Partners. “Arclight is passionate about serving the community, and by supporting Read to a Child both financially and with our volunteer readers, we are able to give back to those most in need. We also clearly see how much personal satisfaction our employees receive from their time spent with their reading mentees. Unlike many other corporate volunteer programs, the Read to a Child volunteer opportunity allows us to have a deep relationship with students and to make a direct impact on the student’s future success. It is very powerful for volunteer and student alike.”

“Eastern Bank is pleased to support Read to a Child and its vital work improving literacy in communities across eastern Massachusetts,” said Eastern Bank President, Bob Rivers. “Supporting Read to a Child’s efforts in bringing community volunteers into under-resourced schools is a natural investment for us and a fantastic way for us to give back to the communities served by Eastern Bank.”

Other sponsors include Posterscope USA, Clear Channel Outdoor Americas and OUTFRONT Media, who are generously donating marketing and media services for the campaign. For more information about the ‘Spark Something Meaningful’ campaign and how to participate or donate, please visit http://readtoachild.org/spark-something-meaningful//. The campaign will run from March 1 – 31, 2016

About Read to a Child:

Read to a Child, http://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 their future. Research proves that reading aloud to children is the single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading and, thus, likelihood for success in school and life. Read to a Child currently partners with more than 100 corporations and institutions nationwide that provide 1,500 volunteers who read aloud to more than 1,100 at-risk students in greater Boston, Detroit, Los Angeles and Miami, as well as urban centers in Connecticut.
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Media contact:
Alex Nichipor
Read to a Child
781-489-5910
Alex.nichipor@readtoachild.org