KU CEO Tom Wyatt and General Counsel Liz Large starred in a big way at the Start Making A Reader Today (SMART) Annual Gala in Portland last Friday. As the presenting sponsor for the event, KU was featured in a powerful appeal video that showcased the literacy connection between SMART’s mission and our own. Watch the video below and you might recognize some other KU employees, including a few KU Early Childhood Educator Award winners.
SMART is a longtime community partner of ours. They know, just as we do, that reading with children and ensuring children have access to books at home during their early years are the strongest predictors of a child’s literacy skills. SMART pairs community volunteers with children in prekindergarten to third grade throughout Oregon for one hour of shared reading time per week during the school year.
SMART volunteers not only teach children how to read aloud, but they also inspire a love of reading in their young students and help children build their literacy skills and self-confidence. Their focus on literacy and access to books aligns perfectly with our philanthropic focus. More than 200 KU employees have volunteered as SMART readers throughout the years.
Liz, who is the vice-chair of SMART’s board of directors, is one of those readers, and her legal team is full of SMART volunteers.
We often talk about the power of reading and the magical moments that happen when a child has a book in her or his hands. Our employees who serve as SMART readers are personally experiencing those moments every week. We thank them for their work and you for encouraging and promoting those magical reading moments in your centers every day.