It is difficult to believe that many young children in the United States have little or no access to reading materials. According to a 2010 United Way of Lake County, Illinois (UWLC) survey, only 40 percent of six-year-old children living in Lake County have any contact with books pre-kindergarten. In an effort to help, the UWLC and Bernie's Book Bank joined forces to create the country's largest book drive. The campaign spanned two months and was called "Page it Forward."
PCA’s corporate office is located within the boundaries of Lake County. Having heard the UWLC statistics, PCA felt compelled to help. An internal memo with information regarding the book drive was sent to all of the company’s Lake Forest employees. Within just a few days, PCA collected 225 books, which were then donated to the Page it Forward campaign. In addition, PCA donated nearly $2000 worth of school supplies to a local school supply drive.
Literacy is no problem of the past. It continues to be an issue among low–income families today. Fueled by the idea that every child should have the opportunity to read, the Page it Forward campaign is making every effort to make that a reality.
Jennifer Yonan, the vice president of marketing and donor relations for UWLC, reports that third–grade reading scores are used to predict everything from high school graduation rates to potential prison populations. The goal of the book drive is to enhance children’s knowledge and get them more interested in reading.
By impacting the reading levels of children today, we could help ensure their access to a brighter future. As a result of the Page it Forward campaign, each low–income child will receive a bag of six age–appropriate books. Thanks to all the contributions, the UWLC’s book drive collected nearly 150,000 books. Every effort, no matter how big or small, has made a huge difference to the children of Lake County.