Bobcats volunteer with local Raising A Reader program

BANNER ELK, N.C. --- The Lees-McRae College softball team has continued its busy fall in the local community by partnering with Avery County Smart Start to prepare materials for the Raising A Reader program, a project which assists child development centers and family childcare homes in Avery County help children learn to read.

The softball team adopted the Avery County Smart Start to help fulfill their goal of giving back to the community in which they live. Avery County Smart Start is a non-profit whose mission is to help prepare young children to be ready to learn when they enter the school system.

Its signature program is the nationally acclaimed Raising A Reader early literacy and family engagement program, in which families and children ages newborn to five years participate in a weekly book rotation program that helps families develop book-sharing routines with their child.  On a weekly basis, each child receives a RAR red book bag containing four award winning high quality books which the family shares, creating a love of reading and building the foundation for academic success.

As college students, the Bobcats understand the importance of literacy in their lives, prompting them to seek out Avery County Smart Start to pass along that knowledge to the next generation. The opportunity to volunteer with Avery County Smart Start presented the perfect way for them to combine their passion for learning and desire to volunteer.  They provided much needed man (woman) hours (120 hours) in organizing the reading bags and delivering the bags to the child development centers and family childcare homes in Avery County.

Sara Yackey, Executive Director of Avery County Smart Start stated that this was a significant way for the team members to pay it forward in the community; not only did they provide the labor to get the program up and running this fall, they helped to deliver the bags and even took time to read a couple of stories to the children.

The Bobcats' assistance proved vital to Smart Start, who is required to raise 13% of their budget in donations and in-kind service hours. In light of this, the Bobcats donated 120 volunteer hours to the cause, which translates to over $2,000 in donations.

- LMC -