Fort Collins, Colorado – Six local, national and international organizations are coming together to encourage children to read.
In celebration of World Book Night, April 23, 2013, over 30 bicyclists will pedal more than 325 books to students at Putnam Elementary School. The bicyclists, representatives of Overland Sertoma and members of the Fort Collins Bicycle Industry Alliance are supporting the work of Ride for Reading, a not-for-profit organization with a mission to promote literacy and healthy living through the distribution of books via bicycle to children in low-income neighborhoods.
World Book Night was established to share the love of reading person to person. Through the organization, individuals can apply to be a “book giver”. If selected, the individual receives 20 donated copies of a title chosen from a list of books offered by World Book Night. The book giver is charged with giving the books to other people who know how to read, but aren’t excited about reading.
Local resident, Caroline Tu Farley, was selected as a book giver and chose to give copies of The Phantom Tollbooth. When she learned that a local chapter of Ride for Reading was starting, she decided to distribute her books through that effort.
In addition to the new books provided by World Book Night, gently used books have been donated by EcoThrift.
As a recently retired person and member of Overland Sertoma, Rob Stumbaugh was looking for ways to be involved with local literacy activities. From his involvement with a book fair and distribution event in December at Irish Elementary and his knowledge of the United Way of Larimer County Smart Start for Kids initiative (SSFK), he learned about the Ride for Reading program and decided to look for ways for the organizations to partner.
The recently established Fort Collins Bicycle Industry Alliance (FCBIA) is a group of about 20 companies that contribute products and services into the bicycle industry. As bicycling enthusiasts, the members look for ways to work together to market their companies and Fort Collins as a great place to have a bicycle-related business. A love of bicycling led to their support of this cause.
Ridekick Co-owner, Dee Wanger, participated in a Ride for Reading delivery rides in 2011 and 2012 at the national bicycle trade show, Interbike. A former elementary school teacher, she was inspired by the experience and offered to be the Northern Colorado program coordinator for Ride for Reading deliveries. A member of the FCBIA, Dee and Rob have worked together to organize this first book distribution.
“This is such an exciting collaborative effort!” Wanger said. “It’s bringing together people who like to bicycle, people who like to read, people who are giving of books and their time…all for the purpose of instilling and enabling a love of reading in children.”
Steve Apodaca, principal at Putnam Elementary School, is honored to be the first Ride for Reading delivery site in northern Colorado. “We are so thankful to Ride for Reading and support organizations for bringing their literacy and healthy living mission to Putnam! Building lifelong readers is such a powerful message for children. Our kids are very excited about reading their new books, building their personal library and celebrating World Book Night.”