United Way Board Members and employees join with thousands worldwide to attempt to break a GUINNESS WORLD RECORD™ and promote literacy on Read Across the Globe Day


United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region joined thousands worldwide to promote literacy during Read Across the Globe Day on Monday, October 19, 2015. Presented by Points of Light Foundation, one of the goals of Read Across the Globe Day was to break a GUINNESS WORLD RECORD™ for the ‘most children reading with an adult in 24 hours. United Way hosted three reading events where board members and employees volunteered to read to more than 150 children in Dutchess and Orange Counties.


"What a great group of children at the Catharine Street Center!" remarked United Way Board Chair Barry Rothfeld, retired publisher of the Poughkeepsie Journal. "They were interested and engaging. I hope they enjoyed the books and time as much as I did."


The United Way volunteers read to students at Poughkeepsie's Clinton Elementary School as well as the Catharine Street Center and the Boys and Girls Club of Newburgh. 


"It is so much fun reading to young children and hoping that if you impact even one child, that you have made a difference in that young person’s life," noted Steven E. Howell, partner at Vanacore, DeBenedictus, DiGovanni & Weddell, LLP and United Way Immediate Past Board Chair, who read to children at the Boys & Girls Club of Newburgh. 


Some of the volunteers chose books from the collection of gently donated volumes received over the summer from the book drive conducted by Girls on the Run. Since July, United Way has distributed more than 6,000 of the 10,000 books received to area students and nonprofit organizations. Annette Sullivan, Executive Assistant to the President of United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region, coordinated the sorting and distribution of the donated books.


"The children were really engaged in the stories I read to them. When I asked them questions about a story, their hands shot up and they couldn’t wait to give me answers. They enjoyed singing along with one story about Old MacDonald," said Annette Sullivan. "What was the best part of taking part in Read Across the Globe Day? The hugs I received from the children after I was done reading!"


In addition to Barry Rothfeld, Steven E. Howell, and Annette Sullivan, other volunteers were Marist student and intern Russell Davey, United Way Board member Diane Passaro, Vice President Commercial Lender at Orange County Trust Company, and United Way employees Melissa Clark, Manager of Community Mobilization, Rachel Johnson, Vice President of Resource Development, and Carolyn Zazzarino, Vice President of Finance and Administration.


Points of Light Foundation’s Read Across the Globe Day brought volunteers from all corners of the globe to take steps to close the literacy gap with knowledge and direct action. Reading events were held in schools, community centers, and nonprofits worldwide, where volunteers will read to students from kindergarten through high school. For additional information, visit www.pointsoflight.org/readacrosstheglobe.


To become a volunteer at future reading events, sign up at United Way’s volunteer portal at volunteer.uwdor.org. For additional information about United Way programs and initiatives, go to www.uwdor.org.