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Even Start celebrates reading initiative with free books
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The Effingham County Even Start Reading Is Fundamental program will be celebrating its first book distribution on Dec. 10, beginning at 5 p.m. at the Central Learning Center, 434 Wallace Dr. in Springfield. The book distribution event is made possible through RIF, the nation’s oldest and largest children’s and family literacy organization, and a grant awarded to the Effingham County Even Start program.

Participants of the Even Start program, as well as students at the Central Learning Center, and their families are invited to attend this first book distribution event and receive their free books. Students at the Marlow Learning Center will also have an opportunity in December to choose their free books at their school, and then in January, a second evening book distribution event will be held at the MLC.

Throughout the next few months, three book distribution events will be held and more than 2,000 books will be given to more than 741 children. The program, which is paid for by a grant sponsored by Capital One, through a partnership with RIF, will make it possible for each child who participates to choose one free book at each of the three events.

Also, a substantial part of the grant funds will be used to establish a “Lending Library” for these children and their families.

RIF provides opportunities for children to choose and keep books at no cost to them or their families through a network of local volunteers. Since it’s founding in 1966, RIF has distributed more than 250 million books for children.

RIF’s mission is to “inspire passion for reading and learning through innovative literacy programs and services.”

Although RIF programs may vary in size and location, they all incorporate three key elements: engaging books for children to explore, choose, keep, read and treasure; motivational activities that capture children’s imagination, and inspire them to read; and dedicated volunteers – parents, teachers, and community leaders – who make a difference.

In addition to the children who participate in Even Start or attend the CLC, and their families; others invited to attend this first book distribution event include CLC teachers and staff, volunteers, and local Effingham County Board of Education employees.

Also, a special invitation is being extended to the Holiday Inn Express Hotel in Hinesville, who, along with the Scholastic Book Incorporation through a partnership with RIF, has provided the Effingham County Even Start RIF Program with a donation of 300 free books that will be distributed to the children and their families in addition to the books purchased with the funds from Capital One.