President Eibeck greets local school children at the 2012 Holiday ROAR celebration.
Celebrating the holidays and supporting literacy
President Pamela Eibeck has announced Pacific's second-annual Holiday ROAR, a University-wide book drive benefitting Reach Out and Read (ROAR) San Joaquin. The effort supports the goals of Pacific's Beyond Our Gates early literacy initiative.
Reach Out and Read is a research-tested program that trains doctors and nurses to advise parents on the importance of reading aloud. As part of the program, children receive a new book at each of their well-child pediatric checkups from 6 months to 5 years of age. Locally, the program has a special focus on low-income families.
The Holiday ROAR book drive will run from Oct. 23 through Dec. 4, with donation bins set up in the Don and Karen DeRosa University Center and books available for purchase at the campus bookstore.
A candy-cane thermometer in the DeRosa Center will be used to track donations, and if at least 1,000 new children's books are collected, students will be treated to a Finals Week surprise.
Also as part of Holiday ROAR, President Eibeck will host a holiday party for all students, faculty, staff and their families from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Dec. 4 at the DeRosa Center. The event will include music, comfort food, a tree-lighting ceremony and an "ugliest holiday sweater" contest. Students and employees are encouraged to bring their children to the party.
Holiday ROAR offers the University community an opportunity to come together during the holidays - as well as to reach out in service to the wider San Joaquin County region.
"As we move into this season of goodwill, camaraderie and thanksgiving, we are grateful for this chance to celebrate together and to support early literacy - something that we know is so important to ensuring a bright future for the community we share," Eibeck said.
A little more than a year ago, Pacific's Beyond Our Gates initiative launched the Reading by Third campaign, which aims to increase the number of local children who can read proficiently by the end of third grade. Research shows that children who aren't strong readers by the end of third grade fall behind, and many of them never catch up. Unfortunately in San Joaquin County, fewer than half of third graders can read at grade-level.
Through Dec. 4, Pacific students, faculty and staff are invited to donate new children's books to the drive. Reach Out and Read focuses on kids ages 6 months to 5 years, though books for older children are also welcome - these are sent to clinic waiting areas where older siblings can enjoy them. All the donations will be distributed to children in San Joaquin County. The book drive needs as many non-English-language books as possible, particularly books in Spanish and Asian languages.
For a list of suggested books and more information, visit go.Pacific.edu/HolidayROAR