Volunteers from Girl Scouts Heart of the Hudson in Ossining collected 3,000 books and helped build reading kits for low-income children as part of the United Way of Westchester and Putnam’s United2Read program.
The program seeks to promote literacy and boost grade-level reading among low-income children. Sixty percent of low-income children do not have even one children’s book in the home and only 38 percent of children in Westchester and Putnam are reading at grade level by the end of 3rd grade.
“Our aim is to generate a relationship to reading rather than create a one-time book gifting event,” said United Way of Westchester and Putnam (UWWP) CEO Alana Sweeny. “We want the families to develop their own library of books that can be shared with the children.”
To take their impact to a new level, UWWP developed a partnership with the Girl Scouts Heart of the Hudson Council (GSHH).
“It’s part of a larger vision to combine United Way’s focus on early literacy with the G.I.R.L. power and community service ethic of Girl Scouts across the Hudson Valley region,” said Octavia Ford, Director of Volunteer Engagement & Partnerships, Girl Scouts Heart of the Hudson.
On March 16, the Scouts helped clean and repair books as well as assemble 1,000 reading kits (with three books per kit) for United Way to distribute to Head Starts and other preschools in the Ossining community several times throughout the year.
Over the past three years, United Way of Westchester and Putnam (UWWP) collected and distributed nearly 15,000 books to 3,000 underprivileged children, from birth to age five.