Win $500 in books for your school (and a visit from the ice cream truck)!

Paducah Bank wants to help REACH – Reading Expands a Child’s Horizons – so we are issuing a challenge to all Paducah and McCracken County schools. The St. Mary School System recently brought 547 used books to the Paducah Bank REACH box! Your school has until March 29 to beat them. The school with the most donated books will win $500 in books for your school library plus a visit from the Paducah Bank ice cream truck! Schedule your donation drop off with Susan Guess so that your books can be officially counted.  The winner will be determined on a per capita basis, taking into account each school’s students population. For questions or to schedule a time to deliver your books, contact Susan Guess at susan@paducahbank.com or at 575.5723.

Twenty years in early childhood development would exhaust most people, but Ladonna Butler seems to have been made for that very thing. Her eyes are always open to the needs of those around her. She has no fear of talking to anyone about just about anything. And that’s probably what makes her so perfect for the work she’s been doing.

After making few trips to a public library and noticing how bored the children were, the wheels started spinning. Parents were frustrated with their children and seemed to have no way to engage them in anything long enough to get through a few cycles of laundry.

So Ladonna approached the West Kentucky Chapter for Early Care and Education about starting a literacy program that provides children with books in high-traffic public spaces throughout McCracken County. The program not only provides entertainment for children in waiting rooms and laundry mats, but the children are also encouraged to take the books home with them. This new program is called REACH.

While we often take owning a book for granted, numerous families in McCracken County do not have the funds to provide good reading material for their children. REACH has donated an average of 50 books each month to local families who would not otherwise have had access to something so valuable to their children’s future.

Children who are read to at home are more prepared to begin school and thereby tend to be more successful students. Children with strong reading skills tend to be better behaved in school, and their attendance tends to be higher than children who struggle at lower reading levels. “We see kids enter school who have never even laid eyes on a book before,” said Ladonna. “I don’t want to give children just one book; I want to see them grow a library.”

Other local agencies have been crucial to the success of REACH. Paducah Headstart and the West Kentucky Community and Technical College have donated both labor and materials to build the REACH drop boxes and bookshelves. The Paducah Housing Authority has provided a storage space for books that are donated.

Help us help Ladonna and her REACH program.  You may contact Ladonna directly at ladonna.butler@uky.edu or 534.3456.