By Lynette Carrington
Everyone agrees that our military’s men and women are among our most loved and respected citizens. When one of them is killed or injured in the line of duty, it’s a loss to us locally and nationally, but what about their family? A military person was somebody’s mother, father, sister, brother or loved one who will be missed emotionally, physically and financially. A family of a fallen soldier is often left in financial tatters as they pick up the pieces, try to move forward with their lives and await death benefits which often take months. Helping Hands for Freedom has a primary mission of supporting the surviving spouse and children of a veteran who does not return from conflict, and those who have been gravely injured.
The organization helps with an emergency assistance fund to help with a variety of expenses including housing to vehicle expenses, utilities and more. In addition to emergency grants, Helping Hands for Freedom offers a life needs program, sports and education camps, and legacy and life enrichment programs. Some of these life needs and enrichment programs for children include paying for tutoring, assisting with back-to-school needs, school camps, and day care for children of families suffering from PTSD.
In paying it forward and being an engaged part of our community, Helping Hands for Freedom is putting on an exciting event, Reading for Freedom. Nearly 2,000 children from local public, charter and private schools will be taking time to read a book during the event to raise funds for their school. After collecting pledges from family and friends, they can come read at the event. “Kids will be given a bar coded wristband and we’ll scan them in and out of the read-a-thon to track every minute that they spend reading,” says Fishburn. ”We’re not taking a dime. We’re trying to get them to realize how important education is, our military is and all the things that make America great.” If children read for at least one full hour, they will earn a coupon for a free pizza, and prizes will be awarded to the schools that have the highest number of minutes read per enrolled student!
Helping Hands for Freedom will raise funds for its own organization by selling booth spaces at the event as well as charging for game and raffle tickets. Vendors will have information, coupons and more for all those in attendance. One fun stop at the festival will be a reading corner where children and adults will have the opportunity to listen to children’s stories. Kids might choose to read with a firefighter or a policeman, a psychic or a psychologist, an author, a teacher, a super hero and much more!
Reading for Freedom will also feature a stage where various speakers will share the many ways they are actively working to increase literacy in our community. Student readers will share their prize-winning essays and tell their compelling stories about the impact that literacy has made in their lives.
Bring the whole family and join Helping Hands for Freedom, along with local schools in a day full of reading, fun, food, games and literacy connections for everyone. There are no registration or entry fees and everyone is welcome to attend. Contact Jaclyn Clark at [email protected] for additional event questions.
Reading for Freedom Event:
10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015
Mesa Riverview Park
2100 W. Rio Salado Pkwy., Tempe
Bring a book to read and a blanket to sit on.