RIF distributes books at Byrd First Class

Published 9:52 pm Friday, April 29, 2016

ennifer Hunter reads to Byrd First Class Early Learning Center students Ja’Mya Peterson, Brandon Cobb Jr. and Kyrstin Garrett.

Jennifer Hunter reads to Byrd First Class Early Learning Center students Ja’Mya Peterson, Brandon Cobb Jr. and Kyrstin Garrett.

Byrd First Class Early Learning Center students have each taken home three books of their choice this school year courtesy of the Jean Dean Reading is Fundamental Program.

The program hosted a book giveaway at the school Thursday, and community volunteers read to students.

Jean Dean Reading is Fundamental is a service project of the Alabama Kiwanis Foundation, which works to enhance the lives of children.

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The foundation has a mission to put quality, age-appropriate books into the hands and homes of at-risk children.

The program has been serving areas throughout Alabama for the past 25 years and is a branch of the international Reading is Fundamental program.

“We thought it was terrible that so many kids didn’t have books in their homes. Ninety percent of the children we give books to don’t have them at home and we serve 20,000 to 25,000 children a year,” Program Director Cathy Gafford said.

The program allots three books to each child each year and gives students the opportunity to pick some of their favorites to take home.

“We can put a book in their hands and want something good to happen for them. They will be able to perform better in school and do great things,” Gafford said. “When these people come in from all walks of the community and show these children they care about them, it has a huge impact.”

Da’Ron Waters works as a fireman with the Selma Fire Department and has been volunteering with the book giveaway from some time. He said he enjoys doing his part to give back to children in the community.

“I have always had a firm belief that children are our future. If we don’t instill in them what they need early, who knows what kind of decisions they will make later in life,” Waters said.

Byrd student Kimora Davis said she looks forward to the books because of the stories they get to hear.

“I enjoyed the people coming to read to us,” Davis said.

She said she chose a book named “The Gingerbread Man” to take home with her. It was her first time hearing the story, but Davis said she was excited to take it home so she can read it again.

Byrd will have a lottery next Tuesday to fill empty spots for the next school year. For more information, visit the school at 625 Lapsley St. or call (334) 874-1620.