By Denise Gary

kntr_page_coachKids Need to Read (KNTR) was the fortunate recipient of the 2015 Employees Community Fund of Boeing Arizona (ECF Boeing AZ) Crystal Vision Award, a $30,000 annual grant provided to one organization to fund a special project. KNTR will use the award to fund The Page Coach, a mobile conveyor of literary treasure to children living in low socioeconomic neighborhoods in the Mesa/Phoenix metropolitan area and beyond. KNTR has long dreamed of having a mobile outreach unit to connect with children through various organizations, including Boys and Girls Clubs, transitional homes, recreation centers, libraries, schools, and special events. ECF Boeing AZ has made this dream a reality!

The Crystal Vision Award is an invitation-only grant. After five finalists are chosen from written proposals, they must then make a live presentation before the ECF Boeing AZ Advisory Board, which then determines the winner. KNTR was honored to be chosen as the 2015 recipient for The Page Coach presentation. Said Grants Committee Chairperson Richard Hobby, “Through programs such as yours, our community continues to grow stronger, and it is our hope that this contribution will enable continued success in your mission to provide the type of quality services known throughout the valley. It is our privilege to have Kids Need to Read in the family of agencies that ECF funds.”

The KNTR Page Coach grant team of Executive Director Denise Gary, Communications Director Craig Kyzar and Operations Director Lori Cothrun recently attended an award luncheon and check presentation at Boeing’s Mesa facility. Last year’s winner also attended the luncheon to report on the results of their Crystal Vision Award funds. The KNTR team then took the stage to provide an introduction to The Page Coach and illustrate the areas the mobile outreach unit will serve. Afterward, there was a ceremonial check presentation. It was a terrific afternoon for KNTR and The Page Coach team!

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KNTR has since purchased the van that will be the future Page Coach once it receives a custom vehicle wrap and is filled with books. We thank Berge Ford, especially Bruce Bressler, for their outstanding service in securing a spectacular vehicle at an affordable cost for KNTR. The used van is essentially new, with only 4,000 miles! Berge Ford is another fine example of a local business assisting the community and those in need. We will post pictures once the van has been transformed into The Page Coach, but here it is prior to its makeover.

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The inside is ready to go … except for the books, of course!

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We plan to conduct a series of book raisers at area businesses to stuff our coach with wonderful treasures for KNTR kids! Then The Page Coach will be hitting the trail to provide fantastic books, engaging programs, lovable reading buddies, and supplemental reading resources for children throughout the valley. Local authors, illustrators, costuming groups, and other talented folks will be able to join in on the fun. If you or your company can help with books, stuffed reading buddies, supplies, or cash sponsorships, please contact KNTR at info@kidsneedtoread.org. Large sponsorships will be acknowledged with a magnetic sign on The Page Coach.

The Crystal Vision Award is the fourth gift KNTR has received from ECF Boeing AZ, having previously received funding for the READ Together, Kids-N-Peace, and Reading Revolution programs. Kids Need to Read thanks Employees Community Fund of Boeing Arizona for their generosity and trust, and for making The Page Coach a reality for the children of our shared community. We are extremely excited to get started—to deliver dreams and inspire imagination among the children who will benefit from this bountiful contribution.

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