(KOKOMO) – Forty-seven foster children received backpacks filled with books this week at the eighth-annual Books for Youth event sponsored by Indiana’s Department of Child Services (DCS), Indianapolis Colts and Cargo Services Inc.
The event took place at Haynes International July 9 in Kokomo, where area foster children and their foster families met several Colts cheerleaders and Blue, the team mascot, and received free snacks along with their backpacks and books.
“Reading and being read to at an early age not only increases success in the classroom but in life,” DCS director Terry Stigdon said. “By giving books to kids in foster care, it will only encourage them to keep reading and keep succeeding.”
Kristin Ballard, the wife of Colts General Manager Chris Ballard, attended the event and helped hand out backpacks to the children.
“I love being a part of every one of the Books for Youth events,” she said. “This helps make sure foster kids have something of their own, and it makes it so the foster parents get to see the kids smile and have hope.”
Books for Youth, founded in 2006, provides backpacks of 25 new and gently used books to children in the Indiana foster care system. Since the program’s inception, more than 200,000 books have been distributed.
“The kids absolutely love the books,” said John Rowe, managing director at Cargo Services Inc. “They come up, and they’re so excited to get the backpacks, and most of the time, they go back to their families, open them up and immediately start reading. That’s really cool.”
To learn more about the Books for Youth program and how to get involved, click here.