TUCSON, AZ (KOLD News 13) - Pi Beta Phi® Fraternity for Women at the University of Arizona and the Pi Beta Phi Tucson Alumnae Club have been selected to jointly distribute 20,000 new books to area schools, after-school programs, and community programs serving students from low-income families through the Fraternity’s annual Fraternity Day of Service.
The University of Arizona chapter and alumnae club submission was one of only five submissions from across the U.S. selected to distribute books in 2019.
Five locations are selected annually for book distribution events based on greatest demonstrated need both in literacy and resources. In Pima County, 59 percent of 4th graders test below proficient in reading (Arizona State Department of Education, 2016) and 83.5 percent of Pima County preschoolers, about 20,400, are not ready for kindergarten (First Things First, 2015).
Pi Beta Phi began collaborating with the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy in 2017.
“Low literacy skills are directly linked to poor health, greater inequality, higher unemployment and less earned income. We believe illiteracy is America’s biggest challenge and that investing in family literacy is critical to the success of our families and nation,” said Lauren Sproull, the organization’s Director of Communications in a recent news release.
Books will be distributed on Friday, March 1 to qualified groups by invitation. Groups wishing to apply to receive books must be registered with First Book, which can be done at https://www.fbmarketplace.org/register/.
Tucson Medical Center’s El Dorado Health Campus at 1400 N. Wilmot Road in Tucson has offered its warehouse for the distribution.
Pi Beta Phi Grand President Paula Pace Shepherd will attend. On Saturday, March 2 and Sunday, March 3, Pi Beta Phi will have a booth at Tucson Festival of Books with children’s activities and additional book giveaways. Pi Beta Phi is the only University of Arizona student sponsor of the book festival.
“All of us in the Tucson Alumnae Club and the collegians are very honored that Pi Beta Phi has selected the University of Arizona chapter as one of only five chapters to host this important event in 2019,” said Sally Lanyon, co-chair of the event, in the same release.
Corinne Querrey, collegian event co-chair and V.P. Philanthropy for the chapter added, “Literacy is vitally important. We are all thrilled to be able to provide books to southern Arizona children whose lives will be positively impacted by reading.“
Pi Beta Phi’s Fraternity annual Day of Service Signature events further the purpose of its philanthropic effort, Read > Lead > Achieve, to inspire a lifelong love of reading that can unlock true potential and create a more literate and productive society. In a decade-long partnership with First Book®, a nonprofit providing new books to its national network of schools and programs and a world leader in literacy advocacy, more than 3.5 million books have been given to children and communities in need through qualified recipient groups. Illiteracy is associated with the cycle of poverty. Nationally, one in four children in the United States is functionally illiterate.