In a state where only 70 percent of fourth grade students read at their age-appropriate level, a number that drops significantly among low-income children, United Way of Rhode Island is mobilizing the community to reverse the trend.
The Women’s Leadership Council, an initiative of United Way of Rhode Island (UWRI), recently completed a book drive in partnership with Books Are Wings, local individuals and organizations across the Ocean State. More than 13,000 books were collected, easily surpassing the drive’s goal of 3,000.
“The response to our book drive speaks volumes about the community’s commitment to helping Rhode Island children succeed in school and in life,” said Gertrude F. Jones, vice president of Community Relations, Lifespan Corporate Services, and chair, United Way of Rhode Island’s Women’s Leadership Council. “It’s unacceptable that two-thirds of low-income families in our country do not have books in their homes. The success of this book drive will help thousands of children today and into the future.”
All of the books collected were distributed to the 11 sites of Back to School Celebration. The annual event, which provides children in-need with a backpack full of school supplies for the coming academic year, helps 16,000 youths across the state. This year, children also had an opportunity to select a book of their choice to begin building their at-home library.