The Indiana University Northwest Early Literacy Academy got some help recently in its bid to promote the joy of reading to children in Gary. Retailer Target, through its community grant program, will help sponsor the Academy’s community literacy events and free book distribution program to preschool children.
Last year, the Academy distributed more than 9,000 free books at 14 sites throughout the city by partnering with Reading is Fundamental, the oldest and largest literacy organization serving children and their parents. At these distributions, children enjoyed literacy and storytelling activities, and were able to select their own books.
The Target grant is part of the retailer’s ongoing support to local communities throughout the country. Currently, Target gives more than $2 million a week to its local communities through grants and special programs. Since opening its first store in 1962, Target has partnered with nonprofit organizations, guests and team members to help meet community needs.
“At Target, we are making a real difference every day through our sponsorship program,” said Laysha Ward, Target’s vice president for community relations. “We’re proud to partner with the IU Northwest Early Literacy Academy as part of our ongoing commitment to give back to the communities where our guests and team members live and work.”
Heather Harder, Ph.D., executive director of the Academy, said Target’s generosity will help lay a solid foundation for the success of children impacted by the program.
“Giving books to children and parents helps develop an appreciation for and a relationship with words,” Harder said. “This early exposure to the joy of reading is a wonderfully needed first step in school success. The IUN Early Literacy Academy is pleased that Target is supporting our efforts in helping children find pleasure in reading.”
The IUN Early Literacy Academy focuses its resources on the parents, teachers, and caregivers of children age 6 and under. The Academy’s programs help to encourage professional development of early childhood caregivers; provide free and convenient literacy workshops to parents, teachers, and early childhood professionals; help strengthen the adult role in supporting healthy literacy development, and model literacy techniques that make reading fun for children and adults. The Early Literacy Academy provides quality children’s books and materials to children, caregivers and families to enhance and support literacy.
For more information on Early Literacy Academy programs, contact Heather Harder at (219) 980-6529. For information on Target’s community grant program, contact Paula Thornton-Greear at (612) 696-3400.