United Way’s reading program celebrates milestone with young readers

Live at Five
Published: Sep. 14, 2022 at 5:42 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The United Way of Greater Topeka Junior Reading program has just surpassed a big milestone.

On Wednesday, the non-profit’s young leaders celebrated the distribution of their 50,000th book at the Pine Ridge Prep Pre-School by reading to young students.

The book featured was titled ‘The Caring Me I Want to Be’ with special guest reader Ryan Yamka -- the program’s founder.

The program was created back in 2010 marking the 12 years of serving children in the Topeka community. The initiative was created to inspire kids to read, and lead kids to the path of success, according to United Way of Greater Topeka’s Chief Executive Officer and President Jessica Lehnherr.

”We know that when children have books in their hands and they are reading proficiently, it sets them up for success for so much more throughout their entire lifetimes, so it is really important that we make sure that all children have access to the same books and that we are providing that for them,” said Lehnherr.

Yamka said he had two goals in mind when he first created the program.

“The first was to create a reading program which honored my father, Harry Yamka, and his dedication to helping children,” according to Yamka. “The second was to create a reading program that puts books into the hands of children who may not have easy access to them. With the second goal being the most important, it was vital to create a program that was not only sustainable through donations and volunteering, but one that could thrive and flourish in order for it to be successful in the future.”

To find out more about the reading program, click HERE.