The early childhood literacy targeted program, part of our “I Know MI Numbers” initiative, aims to boost pre-reading skills needed to help children to be reading at grade level by the third grade. This goal received a big boost due to the efforts of two organizations: The Molina Foundation (part of Molina Healthcare) and First Book. Earlier this year, the Molina Foundation offered to donate up to 50,000 books to Michigan State University Extension 4-H Youth Development for distribution mostly in the southeastern part of the state. This effort kicked off with an event early in March, which I wrote about in an earlier Spotlight article (March 10, 2011).
In June, the Molina Foundation hooked us up with First Book, who offered to donate up to 500,000 books to Michigan through Michigan 4-H and our continuing partnership with the Molina Foundation. Retired Extension associate director and former State 4-H Leader Cheri Booth coordinated both the Molina and First Book book give-aways, with the latest one culminating in the distribution yesterday and today of 100,000 books for Michigan organizations that serve youth who are in need and another 340,000 books being shipped to youth organizations all over the country. Volunteers who helped distribute the books came from several organizations and even included MSU senior associate provost June Youatt. Among everything else, Cheri arranged for donated warehouse space in Delhi Township and for the direct delivery of books to the 4-H program in Lansing’s Southside Community Center and to a “Reading in the Park” Extension event in St. Johns.