United Way of New York City & Skanska Host READ NYC 5th Annual Community Festival

Appearances by Sesame Street's Elmo & New Neighbor, Mando

Thousands Expected on Saturday, October 5, 2013, at Pier 1 in Brooklyn Bridge Park

Oct 04, 2013, 08:00 ET from United Way of New York City

NEW YORK, Oct. 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Thousands of New Yorkers will join United Way of New York City and Skanska to celebrate their 5th Annual Community Festival featuring live entertainment, food trucks and family-friendly activities. This year's event, READ NYC: A Festival for Brighter Futures, will emphasize the importance of helping children learn and love to read with educational games, face painters, arts and crafts and nearly 2,000 books for giveaways. The Festival will also feature live performances, music and sports activities. READ NYC will be held on Saturday, October 5, 2013, at Pier 1 in Brooklyn Bridge Park from 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM.

READ NYC will feature performances by Sesame Street's Elmo and the show's newest cast member, Armando; live music by local bands Brown Rice Family and Son de Brooklyn; reading circles and book giveaways; the Walking Alphabet, a spelling game featuring free t-shirts, photo-ops and prizes; face painters and arts and crafts; and sports activities for youth and teens.

United Way of New York City (UWNYC) is committed to building healthy and strong communities with education at the heart of its mission. The Festival will feature dozens of community partners in the areas of education, income and health showcasing their efforts to support the conditions to promote healthy and successful learners. Festival-goers will have a chance to become further involved in United Way of New York City's literacy initiative to prepare early learners to stay on track to read at grade-level by the third grade - a critical milestone on the road to college and a career. A pledge to participate will be offered online at liveunitednyc.org and onsite on Saturday, October 5.  

"United Way of New York City is thrilled to celebrate our 5th Annual Community Festival, READ NYC, with a focus this year on getting kids excited about learning and reading," says Sheena Wright, President and CEO of United Way of New York City. "We recognize that our students and their families are struggling to succeed. Our Festival will provide resources for families, communities, parents and children to thrive."

According to the New York City Department of Education, only one in three New York City students is proficient in reading by third grade. Third graders who cannot read at grade-level are 70% less likely to graduate from high school. READ NYC will help encourage children to get excited about reading and will help families discover ways to make reading fun.

"Our mission is to leave cities better than we find them. We do that every day by building new parks, bridges or hospitals. We try to go one step further by making a meaningful difference in the communities where we live and work. This event is a perfect example of how New Yorkers from all walks of life can come together to make our city better," says Skanska USA Building President Bill Flemming. "Working with United Way, we know we can help make a difference in the lives of the city's most vulnerable residents."

Since 2010, Skanska and UWNYC have partnered to create New York-wide community events, such as the Bridge Walk and the READ NYC Community Festival. As one of the world's leading construction groups and a major player in New York development, Skanska's history of building and renovating neighborhoods is an ideal complement to UWNYC's mission to implement real, system-wide change in New York's communities.

UWNYC is also taking READ NYC to social media. Instagram and Twitter users can use #ReadNYC on Tuesday, October 1 from 12:00 PM - 3:00 PM to join the READ NYC rally. Individuals can post a photo and/or tweet about their favorite place to read and crowdsource ideas about how to fit in 20 – 30 minutes of reading to children into busy parent schedules. Nonprofits will also be sharing the importance of reading and education using #ReadNYC

UWNYC is focused on helping children meet education challenges by convening business leaders, nonprofit organizations, community based organizations, teachers, union leaders and government officials to collaboratively help improve our education system. UWNYC aims to double the number of third graders who can read proficiently by 2020 in five communities to make the future brighter for thousands of New Yorkers.

For more information, please contact Kamian Allen at The TASC Group at (646) 723-4344 or kamian@thetascgroup.com.

About United Way of New York City
United Way of New York City mobilizes communities to eradicate barriers and create opportunities that improve the lives of low-income New Yorkers for the benefit of all.  We envision caring communities where all individuals and families have access to quality education and the opportunity to lead healthy and financially secure lives. Learn more at unitedwaynyc.org.

About Skanska
Skanska USA is one of the leading development and construction companies in the country, consisting of four business units: Skanska USA Building, which specializes in building construction; Skanska USA Civil, specialized in civil infrastructure; Skanska Infrastructure Development, which develops public-private partnerships; and Skanska Commercial Development, which develops commercial projects in select U.S. markets. Headquartered in New York, Skanska USA has approximately 8,300 employees and its 2012 revenues were SEK 37.3 billion.

Kamian Allen - 646-723-4344

SOURCE United Way of New York City