SEPT. 20, 2001 | Children in the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) Head Start program recently received free books from a national organization thanks to major contributions from the car manufacturer Mercury and the publisher Random House Children’s Books.
First Book, a nonprofit organization, chose UAMS Head Start as one of the locations where it will give young children personal libraries of up to a dozen books over the course of a year. The program, called the Mercury Mountaineer Drive for Literacy, will give books to approximately 300,000 children in all.
Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Little Rock Mayor Jim Dailey participated in the presentation of books to the UAMS children Sept. 5 in a ceremony at the Children’s Museum of Arkansas in Little Rock. Arkansas Teacher of the Year Faye Bowler Haney of Valley View Elementary School (Jonesboro), also attended the event.
”I was impressed with the Little Rock event. It was one of the only cities where we had the mayor and the governor and the teacher of the year there supporting our efforts. That really does a lot in raising the visibility of our program and its mission,” Elizabeth Lee, an organizer for First book, said.
First Book received a donation of $1 million from Mercury and a donation of 1 million books from Random House Children’s Books for the giveaway program. The “drive for literacy” will make stops in 60 cities throughout the United States to distribute the children’s books. The aim of the program is to provide “first books” to children in low-income families, where one team of researchers found that two-thirds have no books at all in their homes.
Charles Feild, M.D., of the Department of Pediatrics in the UAMS College of Medicine, is executive director of the Pulaski County Head Start program. He said, “I thought the event was great. The kids listened with rapt attention not only to the stories but the speeches as well.”
Photo: Mayor Jim Dailey (left), Gov. Mike Huckabee (center), and Arkansas Teacher of the Year Faye Bowler Haney (right) joined the presentation of books to UAMS Head Start children. (Adrienne Oliver)
Links on This Page
First Book: http://www.firstbook.org/
Department of Pediatrics: http://pediatrics.ach.uams.edu/