How Emerging Leaders Spent One Saturday Morning to Make an Entire Year Better

By United Way of King County, on December 18, 2014 | In Emerging Leaders 365, Volunteering

Kelly ClayGuest blogger Kelly Clay is a volunteer on the Emerging Leader Marketing Committee and is a freelance writer and lifestyle advisor at Blog without Boundaries. She recently led a Second Saturday volunteer project for Emerging Leaders and recaps why this Saturday morning was time well-spent.

How much did you love reading as a kid? In elementary school, you were more likely to find me dead than without a book in my hand; I was lucky enough to have the resources to collect the entire Babysitters Club and Sweet Valley collection (remember those?!) Unfortunately, not every child has access bring even one book home, which is where Ballard-based Page Ahead and United Way of King County come in.

Page Ahead, founded in 1990, makes it a goal to make sure every child always has something to read.

They’ve found that if a child can read at grade level by 3rd grade, she will continue to read at grade level throughout her academic career. A child who succeeds in school will remain there, earning a chance at a better job and a better life in the years ahead.

However, a child who lacks early exposure to reading often suffers from low self-esteem, struggles academically, and is at higher risk for substance abuse, teen pregnancy, and delinquency. In short: succeeding begins with reading.

In order to place as many books in the homes of at-risk kids that it needs, Page Ahead needs help – and lots of it. One of their biggest campaigns happens during the holidays, when the non-profit sends out mailers requesting financial donations to its entire mailing list. If this job sounds big, it’s more than even they can handle — so they asked for help from United Way of King County Emerging Leaders to reach their goals by stuffing, sealing and stamping these envelopes.

This past Saturday, a group of 8 Emerging Leaders gathered around a table at the Page Ahead office, enjoying bagels, orange juice and coffee — surrounded by envelopes and stamps — to help Page Ahead secure the financial donations they needed. These Emerging Leaders, which dedicated an entire Saturday morning (and even part of the afternoon) during this busy holiday season, helped Page Ahead reach thousands of their contributors. With our efforts, we’ll hopefully help Page Ahead not only secure the donations they need, but get even more books into the hands of kids who need them most, sparking a love for reading that will lead to a life full of success.

If you’re in your 20’s or 30’s, we’d love to have you join us at our next Second Saturday volunteer event. Check out upcoming events here, and be sure to sign up for our newsletter so you don’t miss other opportunities to give back to your local community.


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