Real Men Read

Josh Feller reads to a pre-school class at Taylor Elementary School as part of the United Way's Real Men Read program on Sept. 11, 2017. Tim Bath | Kokomo Tribune

The Duke Energy Foundation has donated $20,000 to United Way’s Real Mean Read program, which supports early learning through volunteer readers.

The money helps fund the program’s third year in Howard County, which mobilizes community members as volunteer readers in early learning center classrooms. Real Men Read also and enrolls children and their families in The Imagination Library, which mails one age-appropriate book per month to the home of children aged zero to five at no cost to families.

“Duke Energy is proud to support Real Men Read in Howard County,” said Kevin Johnston, Duke Energy Community Relations Manager for the Kokomo area. “This program really makes it fun to read to children in early learning centers knowing we are making a difference in their lives and school success later.”

Real Men Read has helped to enroll over 1,700 children in Imagination Library, which delivers over 20,000 books a year to children in Howard County. More than 300 children have graduated out of the program since its debut in 2017, according to a release from the United Way serving Howard and Tipton counties.

“Our volunteers are passionate about reading and giving all children in the community the support they need for success,” said Santos Salinas, chair of Real Men Read Committee. “The volunteer commitment is once a month for 30 minutes and will leave a lasting impression not only on the children, but also on the volunteer.”

Real Men Read and The Imagination Library are a collaboration working towards the larger community goal set by United Way of 75in5, which strives to increase kindergarten readiness on the first day of school from 45% to 75% by 2022.

To volunteer for Real Men Read or register for The Imagination Library, contact United Way’s Community Development Officer Austin Hooker at 765-457-4357, or visit www.unitedwayhoco.org.

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