United Way Celebrates Dr. Seuss’ Birthday on March 2, 2016 during NEA’s Read Across America Day

View photos from Read Across America Day 2015

On Wednesday, March 2nd, in honor of Dr. Seuss’ Birthday, United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region invites the community to join together and read to a child during NEA’s Read Across America Day. Designed to promote a nation of readers, March 2nd, children and youth from the area will be joining millions of children around the country to celebrate the 18th annual NEA Read Across America Day.

Last year’s event was a huge success, according to Melissa Clark, Manager of Community Mobilization at United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region. “In 2015, we kicked off our participation in NEA’s Read Across America Day,” explained Clark. “It was an amazing experience to see everyone, including County Executives, United Way board members, and community volunteers read to more than 350 local children.”

Jeannie Montano, President & CEO of United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region, said: “We can’t wait until Wednesday’s event when County Executives Marcus J. Molinaro and Steven M. Neuhaus, as well as Poughkeepsie Mayor Robert Rolison and Dr. Nicole Williams, Superintendent of the Poughkeepsie City School District, will join United Way Board, Council Members and volunteers to read to children at ten different area locations.”

Area families are invited to attend public readings at the Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum (75 North Water Street, Poughkeepsie) to be held at 10:00AM, 12:00PM, 2:00PM and 4:00PM on March 2. “Read Across America Day events are included with museum admission and are geared for children up to 6-years-old. Everyone is welcome join in for a great day of reading!” said Peter Jacobsen, Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum Director of Education.

In addition, United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region will partner with other nonprofits ― Astor Services for Children and Families, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County, Boys and Girls Club of Newburgh, Catharine Street Community Center, Literacy Connections of the Hudson Valley, and Newburgh Head Start ― who are coordinating readings at nine different locations in Dutchess and Orange Counties on March 2nd. Although these readings are not open to the public, hundreds of school children will attend and learn about the joy of reading.

“One of our three impact areas is education,” stated Kimberly Kochem, Vice President of Community Impact at United Way. “Together, with our nonprofit partners’ help, our goal is to provide supplemental classroom learning as students spend only 20% of waking hours in the classroom. Last year only 36% of fourth graders in Dutchess and 32% of fourth graders in Orange County passed the fourth-grade English exam according to statistics compiled in Mid-Hudson Valley Community Profiles.”

United Way also is providing books to nonprofit partners. On Friday, February 19th during a United Way Day of Sharing, representatives from area nonprofits chose gently used children’s books to distribute to young readers, helping ensure area children will have books to read on NEA’s Read Across America Day. The selection of books at United Way included thousands donated last summer by Girls on the Run Hudson Valley as well as hundreds from a recent Book Blitz Drive.

Read Across America Day, a National Education Association (NEA) project, was created to help children read and to motivate them to keep reading. The NEA strives to build a nation of readers through NEA’s Read Across America Day, not just on that day but for their whole lives. NEA’s Read Across America Day is celebrated every year on March 2 to honor Dr. Seuss’ birthday and his love for reading. For additional information, go to http://www.readacrossamerica.org/ or http://www.nea.org/grants/886.htm.