By Denise Gary
Photographs by Denise Gary

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Kids Need to Read (KNTR) has enjoyed a terrific year of partnership and support from Pi Beta Phi Phoenix Alumnae Club (PBPPAC)! Throughout the past year, KNTR has been the fortunate recipient of several of the club’s literacy efforts, resulting in books, reading buddies and creative presentations for children! Their sponsorship has assisted KNTR in creating a larger impact on the cause of childhood literacy for which both organizations work.

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PBPPAC’s 2014 fundraising efforts led to two matching Local Impact Grants from Pi Beta Phi Foundation, resulting in $738 to provide reading resources to Phoenix, Arizona children. It has been such a pleasure to be able to partner with the Phoenix Alumnae Club to provide books, Highlights magazines, and exciting literacy programming to the deserving second grade students of Brunson-Lee Elementary School in Phoenix. PBPPAC provided literacy support to the second grade classes at the public elementary school throughout the 2014–2015 school year.

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In February 2015, KNTR and PBPPAC introduced author/illustrator Steven Riley and the KNTR Build-a-Book program to the second grade students at Brunson-Lee.

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Mr. Riley delivers an extraordinarily entertaining program focused on creating story, which always leaves children laughing and craving to write their own tales.

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Funds raised by PBPPAC, along with the matching grants by Pi Beta Phi Foundation, were used to provide beautiful hardcover books to each of the participating students.

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In addition, KNTR provided Highlights magazines to the elementary school’s entire student body through fifth grade, made possible by a generous gift by Highlights for Children, Inc.

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In addition to the books and Highlights magazines, all participating children were sent home with a “Family Reading Tips” flyer to inspire their families to read together.

READ Together LogoLater in February, KNTR was fortunate to be a recipient organization in the Pi Beta Phi 20,000 Books Giveaway! What a thrill to be given 431 beautiful new books to use in our organization’s programs!

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KNTR board member Gary Mlodzik and KNTR volunteer Tina Mlodzik came to help pick up the books at the beautiful Burton Barr Central Library in Phoenix. What a wonderful gift, thanks to our Pi Beta Phi partners!

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This past week, PBPPAC brought 282 new “reading buddies” for use in KNTR’s local and national READ Together program! We were so happy to receive such treasures! Kids Need to Read needs hundreds of reading buddies (a stuffed critter—handmade or store-bought—to which a child reads aloud, especially when they have no one else to read with at home) for the program, so if you or your group can help, please see more information.

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READ Together provides books and other resources necessary to inspire adult caregivers to read to their children daily—an activity vital to building high reading proficiency levels.

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Kids Need to Read is sincerely grateful to Heather Miller, Kim OBrien, the entire Pi Beta Phi Phoenix Alumnae Club, and Pi Beta Phi Foundation for their continuous, passionate support of KNTR’s literacy initiatives. Much, much gratitude for helping us pack up books for our office move last August, too! We look forward to working together in the upcoming year on behalf of children who do not have adequate access to books and literacy support. Thank you all!

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