SARASOTA/BRADENTON, FL – On October 16, 2014, Goodwill Manasota Ambassadors and staff had the privilege of visiting Visible Men Academy (VMA) in Bradenton to donate books as part of the Good Readers program, which aims to foster an appreciation of reading for local students.
The Goodwill Manasota Good Readers Program began in 2014; this was the first visit to VMA. Volunteer Ambassadors donate time to read with Title 1 students and each student is gifted a gently-used book to take home, and that book often turns out to be the only book they own. All new books read by the Ambassadors during the visit are donated to the school’s library.
VMA is an all-boys charter school in Bradenton that is in its second year with 105 boys in kindergarten through fourth grade. With the exception of one student, the entire student body qualifies for free and reduced lunch, which means that most students live at or below the poverty line.
“VMA welcomes volunteers and community leaders into our school to serve as mentors and positive role models for our students,” said Cindy Cavallaro Day, co-founder of Visible Men Academy. “We are so excited to have Goodwill Manasota reach out and include us in the Good Readers program. Not only were books donated to our growing school library, but the students who participated were given books to take home. We appreciate the support of local non-profits, Good Reader Ambassadors and Goodwill’s commitment to education.”
The goal of VMA is to encourage students to “let your light shine”, so they approach each day knowing the meaning of “SHINE”: Selflessness, Honesty, Integrity, Niceness and Excellence. This is reinforced by administration, teachers and volunteers who showcase the characteristic aspects of the “SHINE” philosophy.
“Our Goodwill Ambassadors program was founded to utilize talented people in our community, and partner with organizations as mentors and positive role models. We recognize that our Ambassadors go above and beyond to help Goodwill change lives through the power of work,” said Bob Rosinsky, president & CEO of Goodwill Manasota. “We are excited about the future of the Good Readers program, and it has already proved its worth in the community. Organizations like the Visible Men Academy deserve support, and we are happy to provide them with the tools for a successful education.”
Titles donated include “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” by Jeff Kinney, “The Adventures of Captain Underpants” by Dav Pilkey, “Dragon Rider” by Cornelia Funke, “The BFG” by Roald Dahl, and several books in the “Nate the Great” series written by Marjorie Weinman Sharnat.
The mission of Visible Men Academy is to provide boys from low-income communities with outstanding academic, character, and social education in a nurturing school environment. For more information, please visit www.VMAcademy.org.
For more information about the Good Readers Ambassador Program, please contact Rick Hughes at Rick.Hughes@gimi.org.
PHOTO ID: Goodwill’s Director of Community Outreach, Rick Hughes, reads with VMA students Dawinsky, Tony, Rick, Antonio and Gregory
Photo by Daniel Perales Studio
About Goodwill Manasota
Goodwill Manasota is an industry-leading, 501(c)(3), not-for-profit organization that changes lives through the power of work. With the sales of donated goods and philanthropic donations, Goodwill is able to assist people with disabilities and other barriers to employment by providing job skills training and employment opportunities. In 2013, we served more than 16,000 people, placed 537 people in jobs and assisted 329 veterans as they reintegrated back into the civilian workforce. Goodwill Manasota’s economic impact back to the community is worth $81.3 million. Goodwill is one of the pioneers of the reduce-reuse-recycle movement and this past year diverted 37 million pounds out of the landfill. For more information, visit www.experiencegoodwill.org.