BONITA SPRINGS, Fla. (BUSINESS WIRE), February 11, 2011 - Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Columba Bush today kick off the 11th Annual Celebration of Reading. They are once again joined in the literacy project by family and supporters who include former First Lady Barbara Bush, former First Lady Laura Bush, bestselling children’s author N.D. Wilson and decorated war veteran Donovan Campbell.
“One of the greatest gifts my parents gave me was the opportunity to learn very early in life just how much joy and wisdom comes from the pages of books,” said Bush. “I am incredibly proud that my own children have also inherited the reading gene, and are taking this literacy movement to new heights.”
In 2000, Jeb Bush launched the first Celebration of Reading event in Florida, sharing his mother Barbara’s passion for family literacy. In 2008, Dollar General joined as a financial supporter of their efforts, which includes a number of initiatives to help families learn together as well as the release today of Bubbly Babysitter Beulah, a children’s book written by Jeb Bush Jr. and his wife Sandra.
Bubbly Babysitter Beulah benefits families with deaf children. The second phase of the project will include an online video version featuring an American Sign Language performing artist who will bring the story to life. The book features colorful artwork inspired by international pop artist and literacy advocate Romero Britto.
“One of the most important lessons my Ganny taught me is that reading opens many doors and breeds success in life,” said Jeb Jr. “ My wife and I are proud to contribute to this heartfelt passion for family literacy and hope moms, dads and children everywhere enjoy reading and signing our bedtime story.”
The Dollar General Literacy Foundation is underwriting the book project. Printed copies will be donated to Volunteer USA’s family literacy programs. The story will also be available as an online book to teach literacy through the written word and Sign Language. The online version of Bubbly Babysitter Beulah and a subsequent Spanish edition are slated for release in the spring of this year.
“We are excited to join Volunteer USA in empowering families with children who are deaf or hard of hearing with improved communication and basic education skills,” said Denine Torr, director of community initiatives at Dollar General. “This partnership is an extension of our commitment to help ensure that every adult and child has the opportunity to experience increased levels of academic and professional success and explore new worlds through reading.”
The Dollar General Literacy Foundation is a founding partner of Volunteer USA’s Family Literacy Scholarship program. To date, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation has contributed $1.6 million to support literacy initiatives through Volunteer USA.
The scholarship program has expanded with the support of the Florida Association of Postsecondary Schools and Colleges, providing scholarships, and covering tuition and fees, to more successful adult learners who are prepared to pursue higher education.
Contributions raised by the 2011 Celebration of Reading event support the Family Literacy Initiative, managed by the Volunteer USA Foundation, that provides funding, training and technical assistance for literacy providers. See www.volunteerusafoundation.org or www.celebrationofreading.org for more information.
About Dollar General
Dollar General is a leading discount retailer with more than 9,200 neighborhood stores in 35 states. Dollar General stores provide convenience and value to customers by offering consumable basic items such as food, snacks, health and beauty aids and cleaning supplies, as well as basic apparel, house wares and seasonal items at everyday low prices. The company has a longstanding tradition of supporting literacy and education. Since its inception in 1993, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation has awarded more than $52 million in grants to nonprofit organizations, helping more than 2.9 million individuals take their first steps toward literacy, a general education diploma or English proficiency. To learn more about Dollar General, visit www.dollargeneral.com.
The Florida Association of Postsecondary Schools and Colleges is a membership organization of licensed Florida career schools and colleges committed to providing leadership, support and advocacy for quality career education. FAPSC represents the interests of over 850 institutions and their 300,000 students enrolled in over 200 occupational programs. To learn more visit www.fapsc.org.
2011 Celebration of Reading sponsors include:
|Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy|
|Florida Assn. of Postsecondary Schools and Colleges|
|Empower Software Solutions|
|Publix Super Markets Charities|
|Florida Public Broadcasting Services|
|Health Management Associates|
|Honorable Al and Dawn Hoffman|
|Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa|
|JM Family Enterprises|
|United Automobile Insurance Co.|
|Naples Daily News|
|Saks Fifth Avenue at Bell Tower Shops|
|Blosser & Sayfie|
|Hope HealthCare Services|
|IKON Office Solutions|
|Mr. & Mrs. Francisco Diaz Perez|
|The Mitchell Group|
|A Plus Pro Photo|
|Brown & Brown PRIA|
|First National Bank of the Gulf Coast|
|Florida Coca Cola Bottling Group|
|Florida Family Insurance|
|Florida Gulf Coast University|
|Goodlette Leadership Fund|
|Tom and Ann Grady|
|Gulfstream Media Group|
|Laird A. & Laurie D. Lile|
|Manhattan Kraft Construction Inc.|
|Paragon New Media|
|Raquel "Rocky" Rodriguez, Esq.|
|Ryder System, Inc.|
|Walt Disney World|
|Windstorm Holdings, Inc.|