JetBlue launched its 12th annual Soar with Reading initiative in Newark, New Jersey. The program aims to address the issue of book availability in underserved communities, where access to appropriate books for children is often limited.
Representatives for the airline were joined Tuesday by Newark Mayor, Ras Baraka, and New Jersey Congressman Donald Payne, Jr., to celebrate the inauguration at the main branch of the Newark Historical Public Library.
Five Soar with Reading vending machines will be located throughout Newark. Photo: JetBlue
In recent years, the award-winning Literacy Initiative has installed free book vending machines in various cities across the country, including New York City, Detroit, San Francisco, Oakland, Washington, DC, and Fort Lauderdale. This year the vending machines arrived in Newark.
So far, as part of Soar with Reading, JetBlue has donated $4 million worth of books to children in need.
JetBlue Vice President of CSR and DEI, Icema Gibbs, celebrated the launch by saying:
“For more than a decade, JetBlue has been dedicated to eliminating book inequality through Soar with Reading. We are proud to bring the popular program back to the Triple District this year, arriving in Newark, with five digital book vending machines opening more tracks to young adults. To connect with the joys of reading and fiction. We are excited to give back to our crew, customers and the communities we serve, and look forward to a fun summer of reading in Newark.”
JetBlue’s Soar with Reading initiative has donated more than $4 million in books. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | simple flight
How does the initiative work?
During July and August, anyone will be able to visit the vending machines and order a variety of books completely free of charge. The books available in the vending machines come from a variety of publishers, and feature a variety of characters.
In addition to children’s books in English and Spanish, books for adults will also be available, so that parents can encourage their children to read by setting an example for them themselves.
Vending machines are located at:
- Don Pedro House, 23 Broadway
- The Leaguers, 200 W South Orange Ave
- Newark Iron Bound Leisure Center, 226 Roma Street
- Springfield Library Branch, 50 Hayes Street
- Van Buren Branch Library, 140 Van Buren Street
Why is the chart so important?
Dr. Susan B. Neumann, Professor of Childhood Education and Literacy at NYU Steinhardt, explained the importance of initiatives such as Soar with Reading, and commented,
“For children from low-resource communities, summer often marks the beginning of the infamous summer slide. Studies have shown that having 25 or more books has a significant impact on achievement, with each additional increase in books, such as 10 or more, resulting in improved achievement This program allows children to own books and combat the loss of knowledge that often accompanies summer.”
On Tuesday, JetBlue also submitted another merger offer for Spirit Airlines, click here to read more.
JetBlue is no stranger to philanthropy, thanks to the JetBlue for Good scheme. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | simple flight
JetBlue’s ongoing philanthropy
JetBlue has been an advocate for philanthropy for many years. The airline’s broader JetBlue for Good program supports youth, education, community and the environment. To date, JetBlue employees have volunteered more than 675,000 hours of service, resulting in $1.5 million in in-kind donations that affect their local communities.
For example, in partnership with KaBOOM! Since 2006, more than 5,000 JetBlue volunteers have built 23 playgrounds in the Fort Lauderdale area, providing recreational activities for more than 50,000 children.
The Soar with Reading initiative is another way to ensure that the airline has a positive impact in the communities in which it operates.
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