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Friday, December 14 , 2018, 2:19 am | Fair 47º


Community Volunteers Help Students Celebrate Dr. Seuss with United We Read Event

Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider and others head into classrooms at three local schools for a special storytime

Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider reads “Corduroy” to Franklin Elementary School first-graders on Friday for United Way of Santa Barbara County’s United We Read event, held in honor of Monday’s Dr. Seuss Day.
Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider reads “Corduroy” to Franklin Elementary School first-graders on Friday for United Way of Santa Barbara County’s United We Read event, held in honor of Monday’s Dr. Seuss Day. (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk photo)

Little readers at Franklin Elementary School got a special treat on Friday as two dozen volunteers entered their classrooms for a special storytime.

Volunteers, including Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider, invited children to gather around as they brought in their favorite children's books as part of the United We Read event, hosted by United Way of Santa Barbara County's Young Leaders Society.

The event took place in advance of Dr. Seuss Day, which will be Monday, also referred to as Read Across America Day.

Since its inception, the Young Leaders Society has donated more than 650 books and more than $2,000 to local schools through the United We Read program

United Way officials also presented a $200 check on Friday morning to the Franklin School Library for books and supplies.

Those funds were raised by YLS volunteers last fall during their annual Bowl-a-Thon fundraiser.

It's the sixth year the organization has held the event, and sends readers to El Camino Elementary in Goleta as well as Aliso Elementary in Carpinteria, according to United Way's Steve Ortiz.

Sixty volunteers participated at the three schools on Friday, and the organization is always looking for more volunteers, Ortiz said.

The goal is to inspire children to read so they can be successful in their educational journey, Ortiz said.

In addition to having a book read to them, the children are also given a few minutes to ask the reader questions about their lives, Ortiz said.

The event lines up with education goals that the nonprofit has for the community.

"We realized a lot of kids are reading way below grade level," Ortiz said.

The classroom appearances are just one component of the reading outreach done by United Way of Santa Barbara County. For example, many young children in low-income households have no access to books, so the Dolly Parton Imagination Library has a book mailed to more than 1,350 county children under age 5 each month, at no charge.

Brad Smith, who works at Cottage Health System, was another reader who made an appearance in a first-grade class and chose to read Curious George Rides a Train.

"It's one of the most fun things I do every year," he said.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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