Lehigh Valley Reads and Lehigh Valley Public Media have been selected to receive an award of $13,820, from the national nonprofit First Book, via a program partnership between WITF and United Way of Pennsylvania. The grant will be used to distribute new books and support several of Lehigh Valley Reads and Lehigh Valley Public Media initiatives.
“We are honored and extremely grateful to receive this generous grant from First Book,” Tim Fallon, Chief Executive Officer of Lehigh Valley Public Media said. “This grant will allow us to provide the resources and access needed to continue educating the families that we serve.”
First Book is a nonprofit social enterprise focused on equal access to quality education for children in need. The funds were awarded as part of First Book’s OMG Books Awards: Offering More Great Books to Spark Innovation, a program that will give more than $4.7 million in funding to distribute 1.5 million brand new books and eBooks to children living in low-income communities.
“We know that access to books and eBooks makes a significant difference in a child’s future success,” said Kyle Zimmer, First Book president, CEO, and cofounder. “Children do not thrive in deeply under-resourced environments and too many of the schools and programs have far too little. This deprivation has long-term consequences for the children, their families, their communities and our nation. This could not be more urgent. With the OMG Books Awards, First Book and Lehigh Valley Public Media are investing not only in the future of the kids we’re reaching, but in the overall wellbeing of our nation.”
The Lehigh Valley Reads initiative is a regional literacy campaign powered by Lehigh Valley Public Media and United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley, to ensure all Lehigh Valley students read on grade level by the end of third grade, by 2025. The Lehigh Valley Reads team will distribute books received from this grant, through the Talk, Read, Sing initiative, by reaching out to local Spanish-speaking communities. Talk, Read, Sing is a national awareness campaign that empowers families to be their baby’s first teacher by talking, reading and singing to them every day. Additionally, Lehigh Valley Public Media’s education team will distribute books to the Raising Readers programs in South Bethlehem and Center City Allentown, school Literacy Nights, and at Book Nooks in businesses throughout South Bethlehem.
Eligible educators, librarians, providers, and others serving children in need can sign up to receive resources from First Book outside of OMG Books Awards at firstbook.org/join. For more information, please visit firstbook.org or follow the latest news on Facebook and Twitter.