Mayor Jacobs kicked off her new initiative, Let’s Read Orange County, at the Mayor’s Family Fun Day, presented by Week of the Family. The annual celebration was held at Jay Blanchard Park on November 5 and is organized by Orange County Parks and Recreation.
The yearlong Let’s Read Orange County initiative is a partnership with Mayor Jacobs, Orange County Government, Orange County Public Library System (OCLS), Citizens’ Commission for Children and Just 1 Book, a bookmobile that has distributed more than 500,000 books to children in Central Florida. The initiative plans to improve literacy by providing 1,000 new library cards to Orange County residents. OCLS representatives were on-site at the Mayor’s Family Fun Day to assist citizens with setting up library cards.
The goal of Let’s Read is to ensure that all Orange County citizens are educated on Orange County’s public library system and obtain a library card, which provides free access to an endless array of books, music, videos and other learning resources.
During her remarks, Mayor Jacobs spoke about the initiative’s co-chair and the inspiration behind the Let’s Read initiative, Just 1 Book founder Sarah Dewitz. Though only hoping to collect just one book from each student at her elementary school, Dewitz collected more than 13,000 books. Six years later, Just 1 Book has distributed more than 500,000 books to low-income neighborhoods. To help with the distribution of these books, Orange County donated a bus that now serves as the Just 1 Book bookmobile, allowing Dewitz and her family to collect and distribute more books throughout Central Florida.
The theme of this year’s Week of the Family was “Family – A Team Effort.” Now in its 14th year, Week of the Family focuses on creating family-centered events in order to strengthen and celebrate Orange County families throughout the first week of November. As part of Week of the Family, the Mayor’s Family Fun Day is a free, four-hour event at Jay Blanchard Park providing guests with live entertainment, carnival-like games, crafts and more.