The Gift of Reading

The Gift of Reading

On a mild December morning at a donated commercial space on Martindale Road, women from the CFUW (Canadian Federation of University Women) gathered to distribute more than 8,000 books to schools and social agencies as part of the Gift of Reading program.

This program, initiated and lead by Kitty Cairns, was developed to provide books to children from low-income neighbourhoods. The books are given out annually, encouraging literacy and educational opportunities for vulnerable youth in our community. Her passion began while she was completing her Masters of Education and she recalled a story from a teacher who told her there were children at school who did not have any books at home. She knew from that moment that she wanted to do something to remedy that. 2015 marks Kitty’s 20th year coordinating the Gift of Reading program. Donations are collected from CFUW members, and corporations and books are purchased and distributed.

United Way has been a recipient of the Gift of Reading for the past two years. I had the opportunity this year to pick up the books with my colleague and it was a wonderful experience. The positive vibe exuding from the volunteers was infectious. We were quickly greeted at the door by Kitty and our Campaign Chair, Anita Robertson, who had our books set aside. United Way received over 300 books and 12 reference books that will go to children in our After School Matters program.

“Through the books The Gift of Reading provides our After-School Programs, participants are exposed to engaging stories, new vocabulary and new information that connects them to their life experiences”. – Tracy Tkaczyk, United Way

As a small way of giving thanks we invited Kitty and Anita out to our Rykert After School Matters site where the children were each given a book to take home from the program. Thank you to Kitty Cairns and the women of CFUW for giving the gift of reading to our After School Matters participants!