Every year, the United Way's Success by 6 program promotes literacy by holding a book drive, and this year is no exception.
"We know that children that grow up in homes with books available to them are better prepared to enter school and have a more developed vocabulary than children who do not have access to books," said Christina Hann, assistant executive director of Success by 6.
That's the goal of Success by 6's annual book drive - to provide reading materials to disadvantaged kids by putting them in the hands of child care providers, day care centers and after-school programs.
This year's "Bring on the Books" drive will kick off March 1 at the Syracuse University men's basketball game against the University of Cincinnati. Student volunteers will help to collect books and monetary donations when the gates open at The Carrier Dome until tip-off at 2 p.m.
"We have a great partnership with SU, and every year SU has allowed SB6 to kick off the two-week-long book collection at a men's basketball game," Hann said. "Approximately 25 student volunteers from the Mary Ann Shaw Center for Public and Community Service will be at each gate helping us collect children's books."
The drive will continue until March 16. During that two-week period, Hann said she hopes to top last year's total of 15,000 new and gently used books, all of which are distributed to more than 75 sites working with children throughout Onondaga County including Head Start, Pre-K and child care programs. Additionally, Child Care Solutions also assists the program in distributing books to home child care providers throughout Central New York.
Success by 6 began the book drive locally 11 years ago. Since then, the program has collected more than 120,000 books and redistributed them throughout the community.
Through "Bring on the Books" Success By 6 strives to raise community-wide awareness to the issue of literacy by involving local businesses and other organizations in this collection. The program aims to bring the joy of books and reading to children and programs that may not otherwise possess the resources to purchase age-appropriate books, thus encouraging greater involvement and time spent in the development of reading skills.