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Over 27,000 People Participate in Readers Choice Literacy Grant to Award $20,000 for Literacy
ATLANTA, GA (January 22, 2009) - The readers have spoken! After over 27,000 people participated in the first-ever Reader's Choice Literacy Grant in January, Better World Books has announced that Intermountain Therapy Animals' Reading Education Assistance Dogs (R.E.A.D.) program has been voted the most deserving submission to receive the $20,000 grant. Better World Books collects and sells new and used books online, donating a portion of each sale to help fund literacy initiatives worldwide.
Using its unprecedented new grant-making model, Better World Books received proposals from over 60 literacy-focused organizations. After a literacy committee made up of volunteers from Better World's staff narrowed the field to ten finalists, Better World Books opened up the review process to customers, and invited them to vote on their top pick.
The Reading Education Assistance Dogs (R.E.A.D.) program improves children's reading and communication skills by employing a powerful method: reading to a dog. But not just any dog. R.E.A.D. dogs are registered therapy animals who volunteer with their owner/handlers as a team, going to schools, libraries and many other settings as reading companions for children.
The R.E.A.D. grant proposal is to hold 10 new R.E.A.D. training workshops around the country and provide scholarships to train and qualify 5 additional R.E.A.D. instructors (adding to its nationwide pool of 38). This would in turn help establish many more local programs throughout the U.S. to help meet the ever-increasing demand from schools and libraries. Thousands more children could benefit from the joyful experience of reading with a dog. The complete proposal is available to the public at www.BetterWorldBooks.com/voting.aspx.
Previously, ITA was named "Best Human Service Organization" in the 2009 Best of Salt Lake City awards by the U.S. Local Business Association. And R.E.A.D. was named as Best Reading Program in New York Magazine's annual "Best of New York" issue for 2009.
"We are simply overjoyed to be chosen as recipients of the Reader's Choice Literacy Grant, and so grateful to Better World Books and every single person who voted for R.E.A.D. We know the competition was tight and every finalist had great merit," says Kathy Klotz, Executive Director of ITA. "Our goal is for every child to grow up loving books and reading, as the foundation for a lifetime of learning. Because of the great power of the human-animal bond, reading to a dog is an ideal way to build skills, confidence and, not least, great enthusiasm."
The Reader's Choice Literacy Grant, to be awarded every six months, is part of Better World Books' continued effort to raise awareness and encourage involvement in literacy initiatives among its customer base. The grant will be supported by the Better World Books General Literacy Fund, financed from the sale of books not designated to a Better World Books nonprofit literacy partner. Application details are available at www.BetterWorldBooks.com/rclg.
We're thrilled to award our first Readers Choice Literacy Grant to Intermountain Therapy Animals' R.E.A.D. program, said Better World Books CEO David Murphy. "ITA demonstrated to us - and more importantly, proved to tens of thousands of our customers - that they have the commitment, innovation and passion to make meaningful impact on literacy and carry out their stellar proposal."
Every book bought on BetterWorldBooks.com funds global literacy through Better World Books' five primary non-profit literacy partners (the National Center for Family Literacy, Books for Africa, Room to Read, Worldfund, and Invisible Children), as well as nearly 100 other non-profit organizations.
ABOUT BETTER WORLD BOOKS
Better World Books (www.BetterWorldBooks.com) is a for-profit social enterprise that collects and sells books online with each sale generating funds for literacy initiatives in the U.S. and around the world. With more than three million new and used titles in stock, Better World Books is a self-sustaining company that balances the social, economic and environmental values of its stakeholders. Better World Books diverts books from landfills by conducting book drives on 1,800 college campuses, and by collecting discards from over 1,800 libraries nationwide. Since its founding in 2003, the Mishawaka, Ind.-based company has raised over $7 million for its non-profit literacy, library and college partners; donated over 1.3 million college textbooks; diverted more than 25 million pounds of books from landfills; achieved over 9,000 tons of carbon offsets through carbon-neutral shipping, and created more than 200 full-time jobs with meaningful benefits.
ABOUT INTERMOUNTAIN THERAPY ANIMALS
Intermountain Therapy Animals is a non-profit organization bringing animal resources to human needs. We specialize in providing animal-assisted therapy in the areas of physical, occupational, speech and psychotherapies, as well as special education. Our mission is "enhancing quality of life through the human-animal bond". Our motto is "Pets Helping People".
The ITA volunteer program provides carefully screened therapy animals and handlers (see FAQs section) who work with human service and health care professionals to serve those in need. We work with children and adults who are physically, developmentally, or emotionally disabled, as well as others who can benefit from the unique qualities that interaction with an animal can provide. Members of Intermountain Therapy Animals are trained to provide pet-facilitated therapy in hospitals, mental institutions, nursing facilities, detention homes, extended care centers, and schools.
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