Launch Into Learning lands in Colorado

California-based literacy foundation holds community book distribution out of Westminster furniture warehouse

Staff report
Posted 8/21/16

More than 60,000 books were distributed out of Westminster to more than 40 designated local agencies as part of a back-to-school literacy campaign for Colorado school children and their families.

As part of the Launch Into Learning program, …

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Launch Into Learning lands in Colorado

California-based literacy foundation holds community book distribution out of Westminster furniture warehouse

Posted

More than 60,000 books were distributed out of Westminster to more than 40 designated local agencies as part of a back-to-school literacy campaign for Colorado school children and their families.

As part of the Launch Into Learning program, Denver-area local agencies, nonprofit childcare centers, public schools and health clinics serving low-income and high-need populations received children’s storybooks and activity and workbooks from a variety of publishers in both English and Spanish.

The Launch Into Learning campaign is sponsored by The Molina Foundation of Long Beach, Calif., in partnership with Executives Partnering to Invest in Children (EPIC) of Colorado.

Among the organizations sending trucks, vans and cars to load up at the outdoor distribution event held at the American Furniture Warehouse store in Westminster were Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver, Colorado Statewide Parent Coalition, Community Uplift Partnership (The Hope Center), The Community Foundation (Boulder County), Denver Great Kids Head Start, Denver Mayor’s Office of Children’s Affairs, Inner City Health Center and RISE Colorado.

On hand to lend support for the distribution were local staff and volunteers from AmeriCorps and Kforce. Denver Nuggets ambassadors (former players Ervin Johnson and Mark Randall) also attended, along with City of Westminster Mayor Herb Atchison.

The goal of the campaign, in addition to showing children the value of books and promoting household literacy, was to help motivate and give children an academic boost after the long summer vacation.

“We care deeply about helping children in their academic and personal achievement,” said foundation founder and president, Dr. Martha Bernadett. “And we know that giving out learning materials can have a wonderfully positive impact on the kids and their families.”

The need for schools to get students working back at grade level after being academically inactive during the summer is crucial. Recent reports have shown that Denver and the nearby City of Aurora are among the nation’s worst areas for achievement gaps — the dramatic difference in vocabulary levels — between poor students and their better off peers. Also, the state’s dismal high school graduation rate — 77 percent — continues to be even lower for black and Latino students.

As companion events to the distribution, The Molina Foundation hosted its fun and lively “Book Buddies” reading activities for school-age children on Aug. 15 at the Volunteers of America Bill Daniels Veterans Center in Denver, and on Aug. 18 at Family Star Montessori School, also in Denver.

The Launch Into Learning visit in Colorado is the first major donation effort this back-to-school season by The Molina Foundation. In the coming weeks, major donation events are scheduled to take place in California, too.

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