Books donated to area children

Published 1:23 pm Saturday, July 16, 2011

Representatives from 26 organizations gathered at Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation’s office in Owatonna to receive books through the BookStart program, a partnership between SMIF and Capstone Publishers.

This effort is part of SMIF’s Early Childhood Program, focused on providing resources so all children can have a healthy life of learning, achieving and succeeding. A total of 5,000 books were given away Tuesday, with a value of $87,526.

BookStart, now in its ninth year, has provided about 40,000 books to children throughout the region. The goal is that every child has a book of his or her own at home to read or be read to by family members, which promotes a lifelong love for reading.

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“We are pleased to be able to partner with Capstone Publishers to provide these books to promote early literacy and learning for our young children,” notes SMIF President and CEO Tim Penny. “We believe investing in our young children is a long-term strategy that will lead to a capable workforce.”

The organizations were selected because they provide outstanding early literacy opportunities for young children and their families within their community. Each organizationwill incorporate the books into an event where young children will receive one of the books to take home and keep.

The organizations selected in the Albert Lea area were:

• Albert Lea Public Schools, Albert Lea: “Kindergarten Family Nights.”

• The Children’s Center, Albert Lea: “The Children’s Center Clubs.”

• Freeborn County Public Health, Albert Lea: “Reading and Resources.”

• Prevent Child Abuse Minnesota, Albert Lea: “Circle of Parents: Building Blocks to Reading.”