In an effort to support the Governor’s "Just Read, Florida!" Initiative, the Department of Corrections implemented a statewide plan to collect new and used books to distribute to underprivileged children in our local communities.
The department surpassed its goal of collecting 10,000 books statewide by collecting over 44,100 books in a four month period. The books were distributed to the local Boys and Girls Clubs and to other local agencies that mentor/assist with the special needs of underprivileged children in our communities.
Students in one of the recipient classrooms at East Milton Elementary viewing the donated school supplies.
Staff was appointed in each regional office, institution and circuit office as the Just Read Coordinator for their respective facility. The names were forwarded to our Agency Coordinator, and she proceeded to coordinate the book drive.
The facility coordinators set up the book drops to collect the donated books. They also notified staff where the book drop off points were located, and gave them a list of recommended new books for various ages that were compiled by the Governor’s Just Read office.
The book drive was well publicized through communication via e-mail messages from the Agency Coordinator and the Secretary of the department, together with letters from the Secretary that were placed in the bi-weekly pay checks.
The facility coordinators periodically counted the books, and contacted the local Boys and Girls Clubs or other agencies to pick up the books or made arrangements to have them delivered.
The facility coordinators sent weekly reports to the Agency Coordinator with regard to the number of books collected and from which institution they were donated. The Agency Coordinator kept the Governor’s Just Read Coordinator apprised of the number of books collected on a monthly basis.
The department’s first book drive was extremely successful, and the department is very proud of the positive impact it has made on the lives of our children. In an effort to continue the department’s legacy of unselfish caring and giving, we have established an ambitious goal to collect 100,000 new and used books during the department’s second book drive scheduled in the fall of 2005.
The department also participates in the Summer Reading Program, the Summer Reading Camps, Read Together, Florida, and collecting school supplies for needy children that are associated with the Just Read Initiative that are recommended by the Governor’s office.
For the past two years, approximately 300 staff volunteered an estimated 1,200 mentoring hours to students. Staff participated in the Summer Reading Camps being held throughout the state at various local schools to give third grade students who did not pass the reading portion of the FCAT test the opportunity to attend a free Summer Reading Camp to improve their reading skills.
The department has also held fundraising activities for the past 4-5 years to collect school supplies for needy children in our local communities before the new school year begins. The department contacts several local schools, and all supplies that are collected are distributed accordingly after determining the greatest need. It is a very rewarding experience to be able to give these needed supplies to children who otherwise would not receive them.
Santa Rosa CI adopted two classrooms at East Milton Elementary School. During the month of April 2004, they collected and delivered 8-9 boxes of school supplies for 26 children in these two classrooms. Their goal was to deliver as many school supplies as possible to the students in these two classrooms for the entire new school year.
If you have any questions with regard to the department’s Just Read, Florida Initiative, you may contact the Office of Re-Entry.
If you would like to learn more about this program and other family initiatives promoted by the Governor, please visit www.justreadflorida.com.
Warden Haskins and staff packing school supplies to deliver to East Milton Elementary School.