‘Race to Read’ supplies books to local schools

Apr. 20, 2013 @ 05:01 AM

This week, we Take 5 with Karen Kennedy and Lesa Price, who serve as advisors to the Sanford/Lee County Youth Council, about the organization and its upcoming “Race to Read 5K.”

Kennedy, the city’s advisor to the council, serves as community development manager for the Sanford/Lee County Planning & Development Department. Price, the county’s advisor, is the adult services supervisor for the Lee County Social Services Department

What is the Race to Read 5K and how did it get started?

The second annual Race to Read is a 5K run/walk sponsored by the Sanford/Lee County Youth Council to provide books to local elementary schools. It will be held Saturday, May 4, on the Endor Greenway Trail behind Spring Lane Cinemas. The Race to Read 5K began in 2012 as a fundraising initiative to repeat the success of a 2008 project that also provided reading materials. The original project was funded through a grant that is no longer available.

How will the funds raised by the Race to Read 5K be used?

Proceeds from the race will be used to purchase the “We Both Read” book series produced by the Treasure Bay publishing company. The Youth Council chose this particular series because it is specifically designed to foster literacy skills development in elementary age children and encourages shared reading between parents and children. Information about the series is available at www.webothread.com. The Council must raise $2,500 to fund the project, and so it will save all proceeds until it reaches that goal.

What do people need to know to participate?

The race is open to runners and walkers of all ages and fitness levels, including children. The registration fee is $25. Participants will assemble in the rear parking lot behind Spring Lane Cinemas. Registration begins at 8 a.m., and the race begins at 9 a.m. Awards will be given to the top three overall male and female participants, as well as the top three male and female winners in each age category. Online and mail-in registration forms are at www.sanfordnc.net or www.leecountync.gov, or you can register at www.sportoften.com.

How else is the Sanford/Lee County Youth Council active in the community?

The Youth Council has always been a strong force in the local community. It has helped with litter sweep cleanups in downtown Sanford, the East Sanford Block Party, the Lee Regional Fair, National Night Out, the Sanford Christmas Parade and local education forums. The Youth Council also petitioned the Board of Education for an AP testing policy change. In addition, the Council participated in the national Tunes for Troops program to provide music to deployed military and developed a local citizens’ guide to help community members better connect with nonprofits and governmental agencies.

Why should local teens become involved in the Sanford/Lee County Youth Council?

By serving on the Youth Council, teens in grades 9 through 12 who are educated within Lee County become more involved in their community and are given the opportunity to help shape local government decisions. The Youth Council was developed to help teens better understand and appreciate how local government impacts their daily lives and promote civic education. Members are able to meet and interact with local leaders and policy makers. This type of service is an excellent addition to any college application or resume. Most importantly, the Youth Council serves as the voice of local youth. The Youth Council meets on the second Tuesday of each month at the Sanford Municipal Center, and information is available on the city and county websites.

To learn more about or joining the Youth Council, contact Lesa Price at (919) 718-4670 or lprice@leecountync.gov, or Karen Kennedy at (919) 777-1113 or karen.kennedy@sanfordnc.net.