Mayor Teresa Jacobs’ yearlong literacy initiative, Let’s Read Orange County, assisted in the distribution of more than 1,400 library cards to local children and families and helped enhance services at lending libraries at Orange County’s regional Neighborhood Center for Families locations in Taft, Bithlo, Union Park and in West Orange County.
“Orange County’s Let’s Read initiative helps to ensure that all Orange County citizens know about our wonderful public library system. As a result of this initiative, more than 1,400 families and children now have library cards, which provide free access to an endless array of books, music, videos and other learning resources,” Mayor Jacobs said. “When we improve literacy, we spark imagination and learning – vital to improving opportunities for our young people and entire community.”
Let’s Read is a partnership between Orange County Government, the Orange County Week of the Family, the Orange County Public Library System, the Citizens’ Commission for Children and the local charity Just 1 Book.
The organizations were recognized with a proclamation during the annual Week of the Family at the Oct. 31, 2017 Board of County Commissioners meeting. This year’s theme, “Family: Unplug and Connect!” is intended to enhance the connections that strengthen and enrich the valuable institution of the family.
Just 1 Book collects and distributes books to children in need, including Orange County’s Head Start programs and other community organizations. Founded by Sarah Dewitz when she was only 10 years old, Just 1 Book has donated more than 250,000 books to children in Florida since it was founded in 2010. Orange County has proudly supported Dewitz throughout her charitable journey, including the donation of the Just 1 Book Mobile, the van used to distribute books to families across Central Florida.
“We realize that the moment we can persuade a child, any child, to cross the threshold into a library, even digitally, we’ve changed their lives forever, and for the better,” said Manager for the Citizens Commission for Children Angela Chestang. “This is an enormous force for good.”
The Orange County Week of the Family is a nonprofit organization that focuses on strengthening family relationships through education, wholesome activities and community service. With the support of former Orange County Mayor Richard Crotty, in October 2003, Week of the Family was born. This year, the Week of the Family is celebrated from Nov. 4 through Nov. 11, 2017.