City of Apopka, Goodwill Industries invite community volunteers to help prepare books for local children

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The city of Apopka and Goodwill Industries of Central Florida invite community volunteers to participate in a unique event on Tuesday, October 18, to provide thousands of donated books for local children.

Goodwill is looking for assistance to prepare nearly a truckload of books – up to 6,000 total – that will benefit local children as part of Goodwill’s Bookworks program. Volunteers are needed to clean, inspect and label the books at a special event planned for Tuesday, October 18 at Apopka’s Fran Carlton Center, 11 N. Forest Ave. Refreshments and prize drawings will be provided.

Two sessions are available from 4 to 6 p.m. and from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Those interested can send an e-mail to city of Apopka grants coordinator Dr. Shakenya Jackson at sjackson@apopka.net to register before Tuesday, October 11.

Goodwill’s Bookworks program takes age-appropriate donated books from across Central Florida and provides them to students in preschool through first grade. The books are processed at Goodwill offices in Orlando, which currently has more books than volunteers to handle them.

Volunteers can vary from teens to retirees willing to provide a couple of hours of their time and energy. High schoolers can use the opportunity to meet community service hours or qualify for Florida’s Bright Futures scholarships.

Most of the books are gently used, requiring a quick inspection for markings, torn or missing pages. Book covers are cleaned, and bookplate stickers are placed inside the front covers.

Goodwill will collect the books once processed. The Bookworks program enlists volunteers who visit local elementary schools and preschool centers throughout the school year to read to children. Each child is provided with a book to keep at home and potentially start their own personal reading library. Other books will be offered to elementary teachers to have for classroom libraries.

Bookworks is designed to spark a lifelong love for reading in young children. That helps them throughout their school education and promotes employability later in life.

National statistics show that children in low-income families tend to have two or fewer age-appropriate books at home. This program promotes literacy by putting high-quality books in the hands of children who need them most.

To keep up to date on what local non-profits are doing for the community, pick up a new issue of The Apopka Chief every Friday, The Planter every Thursday and visit the newspapers online.