WXYZ Donates Books to Thrive by Five

January 23rd, 2017
A behind the scenes look at ELLP participant Marysol Guzman and her son, Cruz, speaking with Syma Chowdhry about reading.

WXYZ – Today is National Reading Day, a day designed to encourage the kids in our lives to discover the joy and power of reading.

To celebrate, WXYZ teamed up with Scholastic Book Fairs and Scripps Howard Foundation to donate 3,800 books to Southwest Solutions, a local organization dedicated to early childhood reading.

“This is one of the most impactful things we can do for Detroit’s children,” said Steve Ragan of Southwest Solutions. “Really proud of the partnership that WXYZ-TV had developed with us since the Fall. They’ve really helped bring attention to the issue and made a huge donation of books.”

Reading is fundamental and WXYZ put the “fun” in it.

Our station employees, along with a matching contribution from Scripps family members and friends of the Scripps Howard Foundation, raised more than $9,500 dollars.

That money translates to 3,800 books for the organization Southwest Solutions.

Donna Cielma of Southwest Solutions said, “Wow! Absolutely phenomenal! This gives us an opportunity to have children experience a wide variety of books.”

The organization has a program called “Thrive By Five.”

More than 500 kids under the age of five participate it the reading program, to better prepare them for kindergarten.

The organization will distribute the books to twelve locations, including a Head Start classroom in Escuela Avancemos.

“It has a huge impact,” said Ragan. “We serve a low-income population and books and getting kids and their parents to read together at a young age will have more impact on their success in school than just about anything we can do.”

The program has a limited library, but with the addition of 3,800 books, Southwest Solutions will be able to expand their program.

“Thank you once again,” said Cielma. “We really need this kind of community support.”

Ana Perez reads to her four-year-old son Daniel, something she says impacts his academic success.

“We need to keep reading, especially we have to teach our kids to read,” she said.

Daniel is part of the “Thrive By Five” program.

“Priceless gift for them,” Perez said. “We need to read, more and more.”

Folks with Southwest Solutions say reading to young children activate their imagination.

“They can take the written word and they can visually expand upon it,” Cielma explained. “They become engaged in the story. All this translates to necessary learning skills.”

Southwest Solutions also offers a reading program for parents who don’t speak English as a first language, so they master it by reading to their kinds.

Marysol Guzman reads to her three-year-old son Cruz and says reading in English helps her bond with her son.

She added, “I little be speak English and I’m learning with my kids.”

And WXYZ is happy to be a part of that.

Read article and watch clip here
Additional footage available here

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