Ah, the power of social media. Wait, rephrase that. Ah, the power of 100,000 books coming soon to the hands of Detroiters across the city.
Tuesday, JetBlue’s Soar with Reading program announced Detroit as the winner of the its first national online Book Battle and will receive 100,000 new children’s books in 2016. How’s that for a great start to what is known as National Literary Month, huh?
Detroit beat out four cities – Houston, Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, and New York – with more than 48 percent of all votes. Since July, the public went collectively nuts (well, at least our fair city did) and participated like crazy in an online competition to determine which community would receive the grand prize: A stockpile of all stockpiles of new children’s books.
Let’s say that again: Nearly 1.3 million online votes were cast and Detroit beat out the other cities receiving 48 percent of the votes to bring books to children in its city who need them most. Books will be distributed in 2016.
“Our customers responded loud and clear that they wanted this book donation to go to Detroit. The Motor City received nearly half of the online votes,” Icema Gibbs, JetBlue’s director of corporate social responsibility, said in a statement.
“After hearing staggering statistics that children in Detroit had little access to purchase books, the community responded so we could help replenish this book desert,” Gibbs stated. “The best way to provide a lifelong love of learning is during early childhood, we are simply providing the means and access. We are making a direct impact by enabling the children of Detroit to build their own libraries at home and take pride in book ownership.”
JetBlue’s Soar with Reading program aims to provide age-appropriate books to kids in need and encourage imaginations to take flight through reading. According to Jet Blue, a recent survey found that 85 percent of U.S. adults agree that access to age-appropriate books in communities cannot be provided by schools alone and that 95 percent of American adults agree that children should have their own books at home.
This year, JetBlue committed to donating 100,000 books in D.C. through an innovative book vending machine program. This allowed children in the southeast neighborhood to visit three machines place in the community throughout the summer to receive free books and build their reading collection at home.
Since its launch in 2011, Soar with Reading has donated more than $1,250,000 worth of books to kids across the country. Soar with Reading was designed to encourage kids’ imaginations to take flight through reading and to get books into the hands of kids that need them most. JetBlue is proud to have partnered with Random House Children’s Books and Magic Tree House author Mary Pope Osborne as well as celebrity spokesperson Victoria Justice during the 2015 program.
What a statement about what Detroit stands for and its priorities — we asked for votes, and you gave them. High five, Detroit!