LAKE COUNTY, IL (07/13/12) – Page it Forward is Lake County’s largest summer-long book drive, spearheaded by United Way of Lake County (UWLC). The goal this summer is to collect 200,000 books to be distributed to low-income children in Lake County.
United Way of Lake County’s kindergarten readiness assessment of incoming kindergartners’ skills in Waukegan, found that 76% of Waukegan 6 year olds had little knowledge of books. Furthermore, research by the U.S. Department of Education indicates that 61% of low-income homes have no age-appropriate reading material for children. Reading is the most important skill a child needs to learn, but children can’t become proficient readers without access to books.
Page it Forward 2.0 officially kicked off on June 21st. Lake County-based Trustmark (Lake Forest) and Aon Hewitt (Lincolnshire) hosted corporate challenge collection sites for book donations and UWLC hosted a speed reading competition in Vernon Hills, where local community celebrities competed in a fun but fierce competition for children’s literacy. Currently, over 10,000 books have been collected towards this ambitious 200,000 book goal.
Page it Forward 2.0 runs now through September 11th. Throughout the summer, the public can donate their new or gently used children’s books at one of nearly 50 community locations throughout Lake County, including First Midwest Bank locations, freestanding Starbucks locations, and local Farmer’s Markets and Park Districts. The full list can be viewed at www.pageitforward.org.
The next corporate challenge collection sites will at United Conveyor in Waukegan (July 19th) and at ITW Angleboard in Lake Zurich (August 15th). The corporate challenge is open to all businesses in Lake County. Businesses that sign up to participate are provided with toolkits that help them run their own book drives. The books that each business collects are then dropped off to one of the corporate challenge sites. The top three businesses that donate the most books will receive a custom Page it Forward traveling trophy, bragging rights for the year and special recognition at UWLC’s Annual Leadership Breakfast in the fall.
There are many ways in which individuals and families from all over Lake County are jumping on board to promote Page it Forward 2.0, whether it be passing out flyers at community parades, monitoring collection bins at local businesses or running book drives in their own neighborhoods.
One such example is Ethan and Sarah Nielander, a brother-sister team from Gurnee. This dynamic duo set out to collect 500 books for their mitzvah project. “We love reading and it is always going to be important in every aspect of your life. That’s why we wanted to do a project within our community and make an impact,” comments Sarah. “We shouldn’t take all the things we have for granted, like books,” added Ethan.
Ethan and Sarah, both in 7th grade, established a community book drive that will take place on August 18th and 19th from 10am-2pm at Dominick’s in Gurnee. They have even created a Facebook page, designed flyers and made t-shirts to promote their cause. The Nielander duo also plans to hold a garage sale with the help of their family, where proceeds will go to support Page it Forward and children’s literacy.
Page it Forward 2.0 is truly an old-fashioned book drive with a contemporary twist. In addition to the ambitious scale of the “on-site” book drives in the form of corporate challenges and community drop-off sites, United Way of Lake County offers a set of cutting-edge social media options to make contributing toward the goal of 200,000 books through the Page it Forward 2.0 campaign accessible, exciting and meaningful to all. Whether it’s collecting donations through custom Peer-to-Peer fundraising tools, or texting the word PAGE to 85944 to donate $10 to childhood literacy, or “liking” Page it Forward at www.facebook.com/pageitforward where a sponsor will donate a book per “like,” everyone in the community has an opportunity to support this important cause in their own, unique way.
For more information, including volunteer opportunities, downloadable materials and the latest updates, visit www.pageitforward.org.
Thank you to our generous Page it Forward 2.0 sponsors: 102.3 WXLC, BMO Harris Bank, Patch.com and Waukegan Tire.
About United Way of Lake County:
United Way of Lake County (UWLC) is preparing our children to succeed in a changing world by focusing on education and building safe and stable families. Working with nonprofit agencies and community partners, we have identified four key programs to prepare children to succeed: Success By 6 Program – prepare for kindergarten; Reading Success Program – read at grade level; Stay in School Program – graduate high school; Safe and Stable Families Program – empowering families. UWLC is overcoming reading and educational barriers by reaching children, from preschool through high school, through these key programs. The overall effect and benefits are multiplied by the strong collaboration with agencies and our community partners. For more information, visit www.LIVEUNITEDlakecounty.org.