by Nacole Vickery and Denise Gary
Photographs by Denise Gary, Shelby McBride, Robert Gary, Arizona Ghostbusters, Arizona Avengers, and Ridgeline Academy

The Page Coach—KNTR’s mobile outreach vehicle—was introduced earlier this year and we have since taken it on many literary adventures throughout the spring and summer, bringing brand new books, Highlights magazines and literacy programs to children who do not usually receive such unique services. The Page Coach is a dream come true for the KNTR staff, who are passionate about bringing books to disadvantaged children! Organizing Page Stops to realize our vision was a joy!

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Our very first Page Stop on the adventure was at Family Fest 16, taking place outside Christ’s Greenfield Lutheran School & Preschool in Gilbert, Arizona. What a fantastic day we had giving beautiful books and Highlights magazines to children attending the event! We were absolutely inundated by families who understood the importance of reading to their young children! It was a terrific event, sponsored by Family SPOT Resource Center.

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Next up on the trail was a trip to Tucson, Arizona to participate in a reading fair at the Radisson Inn and Suites conducted by Arizona Lions Clubs District 21-B as part of their ongoing Lions Reading Action Program. Kids Need to Read provided free books, Highlights magazines, and Family Reading Tips flyers to participating families. We also provided a well-received reading of The Little Flame. Joining us were the Arizona Avengers, Arizona Ghostbusters, and Justice League of Arizona. The children enjoyed posing for pictures with The Page Coach and the vehicle of S.H.I.E.L.D. Muriel Stevens, Marie Bracki, and the youth of the Tucson Area Leo Clubs organized the event and did such a fantastic job in their efforts to inspire a love of reading in children. Kids Need to Read was honored to contribute.

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Thank you [Executive Director Denise Gary] so much for the super presentation. You made the story live! You helped make our first Reading Fair a tremendous success. I hope I get to work with you again sometime. Please thank [Operations Director Lori Cothrun] for getting the superheroes. What a hit they were! Thanks again for your generosity. You thrilled many children. I know they have been reading all weekend. I think the parents were inspired also. Keep the words flowing. —Muriel Stevens, Reading Action Program Co-chairperson

The next Page Stop took a different turn with a “Stuff the Coach” bookfair at Barnes & Noble at Chandler Fashion Square. $290 was raised to purchase books to give to children at our Page Stops. Folks also purchased books inside and brought them to us to help fill The Page Coach. There were also activities for children and many author signings throughout the day. We will have a new Stuff the Coach bookfair during Barnes & Noble Chandler’s 15th anniversary celebration on October 15th! Please come out to support KNTR!

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KNTR teamed up with Phoenix Comicon for an online challenge to fill The Page Coach with books and stuffed reading buddies for children, raising $1,155. Afterward, The Page Coach was on display for all attendees to see during the convention. Phoenix Comicon has been a generous host to Kids Need to Read over the past seven years, providing booth space and many fundraising events. This year $64,000 was raised for Kids Need to Read through the many activities conducted for KNTR during the four-day event. What an extraordinary assist!

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Throughout the summer, The Page Coach visited several transition homes and libraries throughout the Phoenix/Mesa area, including Whiteman’s Safe Haven, Homeward Bound, A New Leaf, Burton Barr Central Library, and the Palo Verde Branch Library.

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Each location received two separate visits, where we presented various story times, craft projects, and free books and Highlights magazines to participating children.

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We were joined by costumed heroes on several visits. The Phoenix Ghostbusters demonstrated their ninja chops as they “busted” out their moves during Ninja Story Time.

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The Arizona Avengers put their super powers to the test when they were enlisted to act out the story of The Little Flame.

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Pi Beta Phi Phoenix Alumnae Club members assisted at one Page Coach visit, as did Phoenix Comicon’s Joe Boudrie. Summer story time books included Ninja, Ninja Never Stop!, The Three Ninja Pigs, The Little Flame, One, Enemy Pie, and Everyone Loves Bacon.

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We also performed some of our signature story times for Eagle Adventure Camp, a summer program at Ridgeline Academy in Phoenix. The Little Flame and Ninja, Ninja Never Stop! were big hits, with the youngest kids unable to remain seated during the Ninja act. One little girl was so engaged, she defied instructions to stay seated so she could follow along with all of the motions and then the other children followed suit! It was a joyful moment!

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Whew! We stopped at the beginning of August to take a short rest, catch our breath, and restock the Page Coach! Late in August we participated in the Sun City Firefighters Charities and Valley View Community Food Bank “Back to School Event.” The kids received free haircuts, backpacks filled with school supplies, food boxes, and KNTR books (fiction & nonfiction) along with Highlights magazines. Our friends from The 501st Legion Dune Sea Garrison, Shonare Vhekadla Clan (AZ Mando Mercs), Heros United AZ, and Justice League Arizona joined us to bring smiles to everyone!

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We are off to a great start of adventures in The Page Coach and are excited for the many more Page Stops it will conduct throughout the years, bringing new books to disadvantaged children across the state. Kids Need to Read could not have done this without the generosity of our funding partners. We thank you all so very much!

More: Information about The Page Coach

The Page Coach was made possible by a grant from
Employees Community Fund of Boeing Arizona

Major Contributors to The Page Coach

Arizona Coyotes
Employees Community Fund of Boeing Arizona
GreaterGood.org
Highlights for Children
Phoenix Comicon
Phoenix Suns Charities
Pi Beta Phi Foundation
Thunderbirds Charities

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