Stay Home & Read March 2, 2024

Books for Collier Kids, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing a steady stream of new books to children in low-income families throughout Collier County, is partnering with Collier County Sheriff’s Office to distribute books to children during Hot Summer Nights 2023 events this June and July.

“We’re so thankful for the opportunity to once again partner with CCSO on Hot Summer Nights and help offset ‘summer slide’ by ensuring children throughout Collier County enjoy steady access to books throughout the summer so that they don’t face returning to school with reading skills 30% lower than their peers,” details BCK Chair Sallie Williams.

In addition to a Books for Collier Kids volunteer working with a Sheriff’s Officer to distribute age-appropriate titles to children, the free Hot Summer Nights events feature games, food and fun for families and friends. Hot Summer Nights 2023 take place from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on select Thursdays through June and July:

  • June 22: Ave Maria Park
  • June 29: Golden Gate Community Park
  •  July 13: Eagle Lakes Park
  • July 20: Marco Island Mackle Park
  • July 27: Everglades City Park

“Without basic literacy skills, children are at greater risk for academic failure, delinquency, teenage pregnancy, substance abuse, unemployment, low productivity and welfare dependency so partnering with Books for Collier Kids fits nicely with our promise to protect and serve our community,” explains Sergeant Natalie Ashby – 3729, diversity outreach coordinator, Community & Diversity Services Bureau, Collier County Sheriff’s Office.

In addition to participating in Hot Summer Nights 2023, BCK has also distributed 15,000+ new, age-appropriate books with related curriculums to Grace Place for Children & Families, YMCA of Marco Island and Naples, Boys & Girls Club (Naples and Immokalee), Guadalupe Center, Friends of Foster Children Forever, C’MON Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples, Garguilo Education Center, Collier County Sheriff’s Department and Youth Haven to help offset summer slide.

Currently, BCK distributes 100,000 books to approximately 7,400 children each school year. This upcoming year, the charity will add Pelican Marsh Elementary, Vineyards Elementary and Tommie Barfield Elementary schools, ensuring children in 32 Collier County elementary schools have books to read, share and cherish for life.

Books for Collier Kids provides new books to children in-need, addressing one of the most important factors affecting literacy: access to books. Launched in 2005 as First Book-Collier County, BCK has distributed more than 1.6 million new, high-quality, age-appropriate, and personalized books to pre-K, kindergarten, first- and second-grade students in-need to enhance their literacy development. Based on economic need within individual schools, BCK is moving toward providing books to all pre-K through 2nd grade children.

For more information on Hot Summer Nights 2023, call CCSO at 239-252-0144. For more information and to support Books for Collier Kids, call Board Chair Sallie Williams at 239-394-4062.

June 22, 2023 – Florida Weekly (read online article here)