The Jacksonville Jaguars Foundation announced the distribution of 120,000 new children's books to be donated to children, from infants through high school students, throughout Northeast Florida and South Georgia.
The 2013 Super Book Celebration is the result of the Jaguars partnership with the national nonprofit First Book and local partners EverBank, Pepsi, THE PLAYERS, DuBow Family Foundation, The Jim Moran Foundation and the Early Learning Coalition of Duval County.
To date, the Jaguars have led efforts to distribute more than 550,000 new children's books to low-income families in the greater Jacksonville area. Peter Racine, Jaguars Foundation President, noted that "Getting books into the homes of families is absolutely essential. Being able to read is the very foundation of successful learning. Studies have shown that many low-income children start kindergarten with only a fraction of the vocabulary of their peers. Often, they have few to no books in the home. These books will help increase their vocabulary and their ability to learn."
The Jaguars and their partners celebrated the book distribution at a press conference in the West Touchdown Club at EverBank Field with 40 children representing the Early Learning Coalition of Duval County. Jaguars alumni players, members of The ROAR of the Jaguars Cheerleaders, JAXSON de Ville and volunteers then formed a "fire-line" to bring out the books to vehicles of some of the area nonprofits.
Over the course of three days, 100 volunteers prepared the books to be picked up by nonprofits to distribute them to more than 33,000 children throughout Title I schools, childcare centers, community agencies, and homeless and domestic violence shelters. Each child will receive three age-appropriate books to build their home libraries. That will assist in increasing their literacy and an overall love of reading. First Book is a nonprofit social enterprise that provides new books to children in need. By working with dedicated partners like the Jacksonville Jaguars Foundation, First Book is able to connect local schools and community programs across the country with the educational resources they desperately need. Visit ****www.firstbook.org**** to learn more about their program or to have your classroom or program connected with First Book's resources.