By Nacole Vickery
Photographs by Will Shoemaker, Gloria Nguyen-Chambers, Shelby McBride, and Gary Mlodzik


We were thrilled to see KNTR Board Member and Grow Your Library Director Gary Mlodzik honored by Cox Communications for his volunteer work in this 30-second video! Kids Need to Read was also fortunate to receive a $1,000 contribution from the company as part of Gary’s recognition as a Cox Community Champion.


Gary, along with his wife Tina, have been a part of the Kids Need to Read family since 2013, with Gary joining the Board of Directors in 2014. With a desire to assist in the national exposure of Kids Need to Read, Gary envisioned and developed the Grow Your Library program. To date Gary and Tina have brought over 12,000 new books for the program. They conduct an annual fundraiser and work with authors to provide books for Kids Need to Read and Grow Your Library. Gary and Tina travel to schools throughout the year bringing the joy of new books to children in low socioeconomic areas.


During each visit to the selected libraries, Gary and Tina donate a collection of 200 new books to each library on behalf of Kids Need to Read. Each visit includes story time with the children. Gary and Tina then create a challenge encouraging the children to share their love of reading by checking out a book and reporting back within thirty days of the presentation. Once this is completed, another book is donated to the library on that child’s behalf, with a bookplate inside the cover recognizing them by name for the contribution. The response is exceptionally positive and heartwarming.

When we have these moments, we’re able to put a face from the community in direct contact with KNTR. We want to put KNTR in a position of visibility within the community, so the community can see exactly what we do and how we make a difference. —Gary Mlodzik

In order to be considered for the Cox Community Champion award, employees record volunteer hours, then each quarter Cox selects one employee for this honor. Gary was the chosen during the first quarter. The public service announcement featuring Gary aired on the Cox Communications Network and we have had many surprised supporters excitedly report seeing it, including some who had not previously known about KNTR. In the spot you can see Gary at work along with some of the authors—Tom Leveen and Renee Hieber—who have generously contributed books to Kids Need to Read. Tom Leveen is also a KNTR Advisory Council member.


At the end of the year, Cox will choose one top winner from among the quarterly winners and donate an additional $3,000 in the winner’s name to a charity of their choosing. The winner will also be presented with the Don Crane award for community service at an awards event for Cox employees who have volunteered over forty hours in the calendar year. We are all cheering for you, Gary!

Learn more about Grow Your Library!


One Response to “Board Member Gary Mlodzik Named Cox Community Champion for KNTR Volunteer Work”

  1. Gary Mlodzik on October 27th, 2016 11:02 pm

    Thanks for the flattering blog Nac, and the fine selection of photos. I like the lead photo- thanks Shelby, you caught me at a perfect moment!

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