Reading Is Fundamental Honors 9/11 -- National Day of Service and Remembrance and Commemorates United We Serve

Efforts create partnerships with some of America's leading education organizations

WASHINGTON, Sept. 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) is taking part in the first official Day of Service and Remembrance on September 11, a day established by President Obama and Congress to honor the victims and heroes of 9/11 through acts of community service.

In honor of September 11, RIF will sign a partnership agreement with the National Indian Education Association (NIEA) at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. This new partnership will help improve literacy resources for American Indian children and families nationally. With RIF programs across the country, the event will kick off with a special synchronous read-aloud for 11 minutes of the children's book 14 Cows for America -- the moving story of the generosity of one village in response to the 9/11 attacks on America.

"The tragic events of September 11, 2001, inspired Americans to action and unified us as a nation," said Carol H. Rasco, president and CEO of RIF. "The memory of September 11 continues to inspire us to serve our neighbors, our communities, and our country. We are pleased to join this national effort and thank the President for making this call to service."

On this historic and symbolic day, RIF will also culminate its Read For Change campaign in support of United We Serve, President Obama's call to service. This summer, RIF teamed up with Verizon Foundation's Thinkfinity and Broadway star Fantasia Barrino to challenge Americans across the country to collectively log 3 million minutes of reading with children by September 11, 2009. Today, we reached and surpassed the goal, logging over 3,051,000 minutes of reading with children at home and in their communities.

In addition to the Read For Change campaign, RIF hosted a series of community-focused children's literacy events in partnership with national and local organizations:

  • "Ice Cream Social" -- a literacy celebration hosted by the Shoshone-Bannock Early Childhood RIF program at the Fort Hall Indian Reservation in Idaho, which included special guest readers from the office of Senator Jim Risch.
  • "United We Read" -- a week-long literacy celebration in partnership with the National PTA and Communities In Schools-New Orleans. In six New Orleans schools, 2,500 children received free books and resource-filled backpacks. Also joining this unique project were actor/comedian Harry Shearer, New Orleans Hornets broadcaster Gil McGregor and award-winning children's book author Whitney Stewart.
  • Kentucky Literacy celebrations -- held in Irvine, Paris, and Georgetown, Ky., in partnership with the office of Congressman Ben Chandler, to honor 6,257 local RIF volunteers in Kentucky who annually distribute more than 320,000 books to nearly 85,000 children each year.
  • "Share the Message: READ!" -- a family literacy event at the Coronita Elementary School in Corona, Calif., sponsored by Pitney Bowes.
  • Nationwide Book Distribution -- RIF, Reach Out and Read, and Pioneers each matched funding from First Book to double the number of books reaching community programs serving at-risk children delivering 98,000 books in local literacy programs nationwide.

"One of the best ways to honor the heroes and victims of 9/11 is by reaching out in service to others," said Rasco. "Through our many efforts in support of United We Serve and our new partnership with NIEA to strengthen American Indian communities, we hope our efforts will inspire more Americans to make an ongoing commitment to serving our nation's children."

RIF invites all Americans to discover the impact of RIF in their community, experience local success stories, and explore local RIF volunteer opportunities at http://www.rif.org/maps.

About RIF

Reading Is Fundamental, Inc. (RIF), founded in 1966, motivates children to read by working with them, their parents, and community members to make reading a fun and beneficial part of everyday life. RIF's highest priority is reaching underserved children from birth to age 8. Through community volunteers in every state and U.S. territory, RIF provides 4.5 million children with 16 million new, free books and literacy resources each year. For more information, and to access reading resources, visit RIF's website at www.RIF.org.

About NIEA

National Indian Education Association (NIEA) is a membership based organization committed to increasing educational opportunities and resources for American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian students while protecting our cultural and linguistic traditions. Incorporated in 1970, NIEA is the largest and oldest Indian education organization in the nation and strives to keep Indian Country moving toward educational equity. For more information, please visit www.niea.org.

SOURCE Reading Is Fundamental



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