By Shelby Olson
Volunteer Resource Center Intern
Nearly 1,700 Central Florida kids are proud book owners, thanks to record-setting donations and the efforts of Heart of Florida United Way Day of Action volunteers. More than 400 people took part in Day of Action by lending their time to excite students about reading and literacy through fun, interactive games. To top off a wonderful day, each child received four books to explore over their summer break. By providing four books to each child, United Way is preventing the estimated 25% drop in reading levels that can occur in children over the summer months.
Prominent organizations and business representatives from locations such as Florida Hospital, Lockheed Martin, SunTrust Bank, Chase Bank, HD Supply, Bank of America, Florida Blue, TD Bank, Publix and Walt Disney World participated to serve Osceola, Seminole and Orange counties.
Volunteers served seven Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida, six Schools & Communities: Together for Tomorrow Title I schools, Beta Center, Harbor House, Orlando Day Nursery and Winter Park Day Nursery. Some of the activities at the locations included a word scavenger hunt at the Boys & Girls Club and Together for Tomorrow locations, reading to toddlers at Beta Center, and a puppet show at English Estates Elementary School.
This year, United Way more than tripled the amount of book donations from the previous year by collecting over 20,000 books. So the fun is not over yet! So many books were received from the book drive, there are enough books to distribute to an additional 2,300 students.
Thank you to all the volunteers and partners that helped make this event a success!