As we get ready for Arts in Education Week next week, here's a great story about how Jet Blue is encouraging students in underserved communities to engage with literature.
In 2011, JetBlue launched Soar with Reading, a cause-marketing program designed to “encourage kids’ imaginations to take flight through reading and get books into the hands of kids that need them most.” This year, the company launched a pilot program designed to provide children in underserved communities with access to books through book vending machines. The program is established in areas that where kids may have access to libraries, but lack the ability to build a home library of their own.
In July 2015, Soar with Reading stocked three vending machines throughout Southeast D.C. with free books for kids. According to the Soar with Reading website, the community will also have the opportunity to opt-in to a SMS campaign where JetBlue will provide age-appropriate reading tips, updates on vending machine book selections and information about “special-guest readers” appearing at the machines. Parents can sign up for text message alerts when the machines are restocked.
“A child can select their age and a topic and then get a book for free. They can come back as often as they like throughout the summer, and in addition to helping families start a library, we hope it shows retailers that there’s demand for access to age appropriate reading material in the community,” said Icema Gibbs, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility for JetBlue Airways to Tayla Burney of the The Kojo Nnamdi Show.
The company chose D.C. to launch the project based on recent research showing that “in the shadow of our nation’s capital, in 2015, there is access to only one-age appropriate book for every 830 children.” JetBlue recently asked the public to vote for the next city to receive book vending machines. Next up...Detroit!
Photo fromJetBlue Airlines.