Every May, Southwest Human Development’s Grow A Reader Virtual Book Drive helps provide books to young children in low-income Arizona communities. For companies and community volunteer organizations, Grow A Reader is an opportunity to support a charitable initiative and have fun while doing so.

With many people still working from home, organizations can support the early literacy initiative by promoting their own customized Grow A Reader online shopping cart — complete with the organization’s logo and message of support. By purchasing books through the online shopping cart, employees or members can plant the seed to help a child develop a lifelong love for reading.

Grow A Reader partners have many options for promoting their virtual book drives, including virtual and physically distanced implementation options. In addition to the virtual book drive donation cart, Southwest Human Development will also provide partners with an engagement toolkit that includes:

  • Weekly email templates: No one likes writing emails, so they make it easy with templates you can copy and paste.
  • Social media: Share the important work you’re doing with customized social media graphics and sample copy for captions.
  • Virtual backgrounds: Promote the virtual book drive in Zoom meetings with children’s-book-themed virtual backgrounds.
  • Virtual contest ideas: Compete against your colleagues to see who can raise the most funds.
  • Ice breakers: They provide team-building activities like dressing up as your favorite story character, sharing book quotes and more.

Families who have been hit hard by the pandemic are already struggling to make ends meet. Literacy materials are an expense that’s just not possible for these families right now,” says Jake Adams, chief development officer at Southwest Human Development. “Grow A Reader is an opportunity for organizations in our community to come together and support the literacy and development of kids who might not have access to books.”

There are some awesome incentives for Grow A Reader partners. If your group raises at least $1,500 during the campaign month, Southwest Human Development will offer a free Reading Buddies Volunteer Experience for up to 20 people. Reading Buddies are huggable stuffed animals given to children in their literacy programs so that they have a friend with whom they can practice their reading skills. Participants will receive all supplies to choose an animal, fill it with stuffing, create a birth certificate, and decorate its traveling case and a “passport” where they will write a letter from the animal to the child.

For groups who raise at least $3,000 during the campaign month, in addition to the above option, Southwest Human Development will offer a free Little Free Library Build Experience for up to 30 people. The experience will include all materials and supplies to build and decorate three libraries as well as staff to guide your team through the exercise and placement in a community where books are most needed.

If you have questions or your business or organization is interested in joining the Grow A Reader campaign, contact Annette Sutfin at 602-633-8416 or [email protected].