BOSTON, June 27, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- School's out for summer but learning is always in with the launch of JetBlue Airways' (Nasdaq: JBLU) and PBS KIDS' second annual Soar with Reading program, the award-winning initiative that places age-appropriate books in the hands of children in need and helps keep kids reading throughout the summer months. The JetBlue network-wide initiative officially kicked off today in Boston at the BCYF Tobin Community Center in Mission Hill, a facility within the Boston Centers for Youth & Families, the city's largest youth and human services agency providing city residents with opportunities for social, educational, recreational and cultural enrichment. Children at the center today were treated to a special performance by PBS KIDS host Mr. Steve, shook paws with PBS KIDS' Hooper, enjoyed a reading by Barefoot Books author Laurie Krebs and took home a supply of reading materials published by program partner Barefoot Books, all designed to spark imagination and curiosity.
Soar with Reading aims to inspire every child, everywhere, to get excited about reading by providing free resources for families at Soar with Reading.com, including an interactive reading list, reading tips and expert advice for keeping kids engaged in literature all summer long.
While on the website, adults can help get books into the hands of kids in need across the country by simply sharing the name of their favorite children's title. For every submission received, JetBlue will donate an age-appropriate book to a deserving child through partner Barefoot Books. Donations will be made to local literacy-focused organizations identified in partnership with PBS member stations in the 71 cities that JetBlue currently serves. As a special thank you, all adults, including parents, teachers and administrators, who share their favorite book titles on the Soar with Reading site can also be entered into a sweepstakes to win great prizes, including a JetBlue Getaways vacation package.
Research cited in The Handbook of Early Literacy Research, Volume 2 (The Guilford Press) reveals a large deficit in the U.S. in children's access to age-appropriate books in low-income neighborhoods, where there is one book for every 300 children, compared to 13 such books per child in middle-income neighborhoods. Up to $200,000 in books will be distributed to children in need through the 2012 Soar with Reading program, and you can help JetBlue achieve that goal by visiting SoarWithReading.com today. When you share, kids soar.
"Every child should know the feeling of a brand new book in their hands and being transported by their imagination to entirely new places," said Icema Gibbs, JetBlue Airways' director of corporate social responsibility. "With dedicated, mission-driven partners like PBS KIDS and Barefoot Books onboard, Soar with Reading can provide books to deserving children and help maintain the knowledge base they built during the school year."
As part of the program, children traveling with JetBlue this summer can receive a free activity booklet with literacy based PBS KIDS games. With help from PBS KIDS' popular animated host Hooper, the games and other activities encourage kids to learn about the world around them through reading.
"PBS KIDS is committed to providing media resources to support the development of early literacy skills – especially during the summer months," said Lesli Rotenberg, PBS' senior vice president of children's media. "When children go back to school in the fall, teachers typically spend between four and six weeks re-teaching material that students have forgotten over the summer. We know that parents are looking for ways to bridge this summer learning gap, so we're working with partners like JetBlue to provide families with fun activities and content that support reading throughout the summer."
About Barefoot Books
Barefoot Books is an award-winning independent publisher, with offices in Cambridge, USA and Oxford, UK, that specializes in carefully crafted books, gifts and digital content to help children on their journey to become happy, engaged members of a global society. Since 1992, Barefoot Books has created more than 500 books and complementary gifts for children that use timeless stories and captivating illustrations to encourage exploration, global awareness and creativity. Barefoot Books are available online, through a network of booksellers and gift shops, in schools and libraries, in its stores in Concord, MA and FAO Schwarz in NYC, and through its fast-growing, grassroots community of independent Ambassadors. Fun, free content including a podcast, animated videos, and children's games and activities are available online. www.barefootbooks.com
About PBS KIDS
PBS KIDS, the number one educational media brand for kids, offers all children the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television, online and community-based programs. For more information on specific PBS KIDS programs supporting literacy, science, math and more, visit PBS.org/pressroom, or follow PBS KIDS on Twitter and Facebook.
About JetBlue Corporate Social Responsibility
At JetBlue Airways, our commitment to corporate social responsibility goes beyond raising cause awareness. We are dedicated to developing impactful charitable partnerships, supporting and aligning ourselves with the communities in the cities we serve, and creating significant volunteer experiences for our crewmembers. Our focus is to create programs and opportunities and fully engage our resources to connect with our communities within the areas of Youth & Education, Community, and the Environment. In addition, we align our efforts to reflect the diverse interests and core values of our business by striving to enrich the lives of others. Moving forward, we will sustain JetBlue's charitable efforts through continuous support and unique programs that help promote positive social and environmental change.
About JetBlue Airways
JetBlue is New York's Hometown Airline™ with other focus cities in Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, and Orlando. Known for its award-winning service and free TV as much as its low fares, JetBlue offers the most legroom in coach of any U.S. airline (based on average fleet-wide seat pitch) as well as super-spacious Even More Space seats. JetBlue is also America's first and only airline to offer its own Customer Bill of Rights, with meaningful and specific compensation for customers inconvenienced by service disruptions within JetBlue's control. Visit www.jetblue.com/promise for details. JetBlue serves 71 cities with 750 daily flights. With JetBlue, all seats are assigned, all fares are one-way, and an overnight stay is never required. For information call +1 800-538-2583, TTY/TDD +1 800-336-5530, or visit www.jetblue.com.
Through Soar With Reading, JetBlue will donate one (1) book to a child in need each time a consumer enters the name of his/her favorite children's book title at SoarWithReading.com between June 25, 2012 and August 31, 2012. Barefoot Books will designate the book titles to be distributed. A minimum donation of $50,000 worth of books will be donated regardless of the number of favorite book titles that are submitted. Up to a maximum of $200,000 worth of books will be donated to qualifying non-profit organization. Offer void where prohibited or restricted. Donation is not tax deductible to the consumer.
SOURCE JetBlue Airways