For Immediate Release______Contact: Ashley Calhoun

For Immediate Release______Contact: Ashley Calhoun


fOR immediate release


Heather Mitchell

Vice-President of Resource Development

United Way of the Big Bend

office 850.414.0855 | cell 850.545-4805 |

Volunteers poised to ‘Do Something About It’ in Wakulla County, Big Bend during United Way’s ‘Days of Doing’

Week-long READ UNITED effort gives volunteers across Big Bend
opportunity to share gift of books, love of reading with first-graders

What:Volunteers across the Big Bend will read and give a book to first-graders as part of United Way of the Big Bend’s (UWBB) “Days of Doing” called READ UNITED. The READ UNITED effort was developed to encourage a love of reading in students and provide books to get them started on this journey. More than 4,400 books will be distributed throughout the Big Bend.

Who:Every first-grade, public-school student in the Big Bend (Franklin, Gadsden, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Taylor, and Wakulla counties). SEE BELOW FOR LIST OF PARTICIPATING SCHOOLS IN WAKULLA COUNTY. It will also give volunteers an opportunity to read to kids.

  • READ UNITED Volunteers will adopt a school or classroom, pick up/deliver them to the assigned first-grade classroom, read a book to the class, and then distribute a book to every student.
  • READ UNITED would not be possible without the generosity of the following contributing organizations: Books-A-Million 4,000 books, Fairpoint Communications 200 books, and Volunteer USA Foundation 200 books.

When:April 25 – 29

call Heather Mitchell at 545-4805 to get details quickly for news coverage and interview/video/photo opportunities.

Where:425 books will be distributed to Crawfordville Elementary, Medart Elementary, Riversink Elementary, and Shadeville Elementary

Why:Reading helps children develop vital language skills, open up new worlds, enrich their lives, and enhance social skills. UWBB’s DAYS OF DOING was created to promote the spirit and value of volunteerism, increase the awareness of local human-service needs, and demonstrate what people working together for the community's good can accomplish. “Days of Doing” is a great opportunity to make a positive impact in the community.

Quotes:“We are very grateful to the Big Bend United Way for the gift of books for our young readers. The gift of a book lasts a lifetime. This will only serve to reinforce how proud we are of our beginning readers.” – Robert Pearce, Medart Elementary Principal

– more –

“Reading is an important skill, especially at an early age. We appreciate the time and effort extended by the Read United Project to be sure that each of our first graders receives a book and has this important skill modeled for them by a community person. Thank you!” – Sue Kraul, W. T. Moore Elementary School Principal

“We appreciate this opportunity for our first graders. When students learn to read, they are so excited. Having a book of their very own will encourage this excitement they have about reading and take literacy into their homes.” – Kathy Nobles, Ed. S., W. R. Tolar K-8 School Principal in Liberty County

“Thank you to United Way for sponsoring the Read United event. Our teachers and students are very excited about hosting our guest reader on Monday and receiving a free book. Promoting literacy is very important for the success of our students. The more they read, the better they understand a variety of genres. Also, being read aloud to is an important part of the reading process as it models fluent reading. When a book can be placed in the hands of a child, an opportunity to make an impact on that child’s life is provided. Again, thank you for all of your support.” – Michele C. Keltner, DeSoto Trail Elementary Principal

“Most children learn to read in the first grade. It is extremely important to have a strong foundation in reading at this age to promote lifelong learners. Kate Sullivan has a long history of excellence with our students and it all starts with learning to read a book!” – Pam Stephens, Kate Sullivan Elementary Principal

“WOW! How awesome to put a book in the hands of every first grader at Hartsfield Elementary School. Promoting the value of reading helps our students see the importance of all the work they are doing in their classrooms. Thanks, UNITED WAY!” – Katherine Solz, Hartsfield Elementary

“Reading is critical to every student’s success and it is very important we establish a love for reading at an early age. By sending a book home, it reinforces the joy of reading and actively encourages parents to share in that joy with their child.” Thanks for supporting literacy in our school and community!” – Iris Wilson, Apalachee Tapestry Magnet School of the Arts

Quotes from Volunteer Readers

“Reading is, more than ever, an essential tool for life-long learning. I do not believe electronic communication will replace the need to communicate through the written word. Remember, young people can't even use Facebook or Twitter without the ability to read! The profession of architecture is always assumed to communicate through graphics and drawing, however, we find our most common and critical tool to be everyday business reading, writing and comprehension. Reading is essential to our profession! Except for the "Old Man," we are a firm of young family members who all realize the importance of reading to children. Johnson Peterson Architects is delighted to make this effort whenever and wherever we can, to show children the power and passion of reading.” – Ivan Johnson, Volunteer Reader from Johnson Peterson Architects

“We all read every day, whether on websites or traffic signs. But as Days of Doing volunteers for Leon County and United Way, we know that reading a book is something truly special. One book can make all the difference in a child's life, and we want to be a part of that change.” – Mathieu Cavell, Volunteer Reader and Volunteer Services Coordinator for Leon County