Men, Women in uniform take literacy to Toledo streets

Posted Aug 23rd, 2012 by Rhonda Sewell  Category: Arts & Entertainment


Major John Tharp will lead a few good men and women in what he calls a “pilot program” at 2 p.m. this Saturday, August 25 at 2100 Consaul St., where law enforcement will join an ongoing literacy campaign.

Targeting children in the Lucas County Metropolitan Housing Authority (LMHA), Maj. Tharp and about 30 Lucas County Sheriff’s deputies will begin distributing books that have been donated to the Books 4 Buddies (B4B) program among Birmingham Terrace apartment residents. B4B promotes reading for pre-kindergarten through high school-age youth. While its primary goal is encouraging boys to read for pleasure, Maj. Tharp, a B4B board member, says that the deputy-patrol distribution will include entire LMHA households.

“The more that we can work with young folks, and work with their guardians to make sure that they can read well, the more opportunities they’ll find to have jobs and compete,” says Maj. Tharp.

Navy sailors from the U.S.S. Ohio will join Maj. Tharp and the deputies for the Birmingham Terrace kick-off, which will later extend to all LMHA properties, he added. The sailors will appear, in support of B4B as part of Toledo Navy Week.

Since launching in June, B4B has collected more than 5,000 books through donations from the public and with support from the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library, Cedar Creek Church, The Blade, WTVG 13 and Buckeye Cable, among other partners.

Maj. Tharp says that working to “front load” youth with success tools will reduce the need for poverty programs that support families who are disadvantaged. Books also encourage youth interaction with parents and guardians, adds Maj. Tharp: “We can talk about professional athletes and so forth, but these (family figures) are the biggest influences in their lives.”

For additional information or to request interviews, media may contact Books 4 Buddies at 1.866.944.1119

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