The Baltimore Ravens unveiled their first-ever Bookmobile at Abbottston Elementary School in Baltimore City on Monday. The rolling library is fully-funded by the Ravens Foundation, Inc. and will be owned and operated by the Maryland Book Bank, which is a nonprofit organization that distributes free children's books to students, teachers, schools and organizations throughout Maryland.
Ravens president Dick Cass was joined by QB Joe Flacco, WR Steve Smith Sr./b>. andDT Brandon Williams** to help launch the program that will impact thousands of Baltimore-area students. As an extension of the work currently executed by the Maryland Book Bank, the Ravens Bookmobile will deliver new and gently-used books to low-income children who may not otherwise have access to these resources. All books on the Bookmobile will be sorted according to grade level, so that students will have the opportunity to select books of their choice, with the hope of increasing interest and commitment to reading.
The Bookmobile continues the Ravens' long-standing commitment to supporting education and literacy. Last year, the Ravens unveiled a school library restoration at Charles Carroll Barrister Elementary #34 totaling over $200,000 in renovations. In addition to the more than $100,000 investment the Ravens made in the Bookmobile, the team also committed $25,000 to the Maryland Book Bank for upkeep and maintenance of the vehicle.
"The Maryland Book Bank is extremely excited to partner with the Baltimore Ravens and bring books directly into schools and neighborhoods where children have little or no access to them at home," said Mark Feiring, executive director of the Maryland Book Bank. "The power of being able to choose his or her own books allows a child to pick something they are genuinely interested in and can keep for their very own. It encourages that child to actively pursue reading."
Reading Partners Baltimore
In addition to launching the Bookmobile, the Ravens announced a new multi-year charitable partnership with Reading Partners Baltimore. Beginning in 2016, the Ravens Foundation will provide an initial financial grant of $25,000 to aid the initiatives of Reading Partners throughout the Baltimore community. Currently in 19 Baltimore City Schools, Reading Partners empowers students to succeed in reading and in life by recruiting and training community volunteers who can provide one-on-one literacy tutoring.
"Distributing books to children through the Ravens Bookmobile, and also funding Reading Partners' in-school tutoring program for the next five years, will create a well-rounded approach to serving the educational needs of many children," said Heather Darney, executive director of the Ravens Foundation. "Reading is a fundamental component, both in school and in everyday life, so it's important to offer students all the necessary tools to succeed."
Ravens' Children's Book
The Ravens' commitment to literacy is further supported with the release of their new children's book entitled "Poe's Road Trip to Ravens Gameday." Published by Mascot Books, the book follows Poe's journey throughout the week as he visits various Maryland landmarks leading up to gameday at M&T Bank Stadium. Written by Poe, the children's book will be distributed for free on the Bookmobile to the students it serves.
Additionally, fans interested in purchasing the children's book can find it available at the Ravens Team Store at M&T Bank Stadium. Beginning Oct. 4, the book will be available online through retailers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million. Proceeds from all book sales will benefit the Ravens Foundation and its dedication to supporting children's literacy in Maryland.
About The Ravens Foundation, Inc.
The Ravens Foundation is committed to improving, encouraging and enabling the healthy development of youth in the Baltimore area, as well as other parts of the state of Maryland. The foundation focuses on programs that help youth, and in some cases their families, with various needs, including housing, hunger, education, athletics and mentoring.