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January 21- 26, 2018 is Children’s Week in Florida. Each year thousands of children make hand art to be hung in the State Capitol rotunda to remind legislators to keep children’s issues in mind during the legislative session. The word is spread by using the social media tags #GiveUsAHand and @ChildrensWeek. The Early Learning Coalition of Southwest Florida decorated offices in Fort Myers and Naples with hand art created at area preschools.

2018 Celebrate Literacy Week, Florida! Our Literacy Buddies visited area preschools to read Big Al by Andrew Clements to Voluntary Prekindergarten classes. You know it’s a good book when 4-year olds sit still to hear the story of a big ugly fish! Our Literacy Buddies are a tremendous asset to preschools. Find out more when you press the Big Buddy Button on the home page.

In June, 2017 we said good-bye to our long-time board chairman, Gerry Poppe. To honor his time of service,  a reading nook was established in the ELC lobby…”Poppe’s Place” Mr. Poppe will continue with his duties as Vice-President and CFO of Waterman Broadcasting in Fort Myers. Thank you for your service!

Thanks to Pi Beta Phi Alumnae Club of the Fort Myers Area for securing a grant that allowed the ELC to purchase 550 books for the Literacy Buddy Program. Some of those books went to the Joseph H. Messina Children’s Center in Fort Myers and became the start of a lending library for the 4 and 5-year old children. To show their appreciation, the children put on a show featuring one of their favorite books: Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons. Have you thought about becoming a Literacy Buddy volunteer? You can sign up by tapping the big Buddy Button on our homepage.

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