“And now we’re going to appoint a reading Ambassador. The Ambassador has to; 1) Become a reading champion by reading five books in the next 30 days and; 2) Promise to be a fact finder,” Random House’s famous siblings continued in their performance for the audience of students from local Washington, D.C. schools.
On June 5, JetBlue teamed up with Random House Children’s Books and the D.C. United professional soccer franchise to bring the magic of reading to life for nearly 400 Washington D.C. students in a campaign titled Soar with Reading. The event took place at the Town Hall Education Arts Recreation Campus in Southeastern Washington, DC.
“How many of you would like to read? How many of you like soccer” asked Victor Melara of D.C. United asked in his introduction to the audience of students whose hands eagerly shot up. “How many of you would like to go on a reading soccer adventure?” he continued.
“Who here likes to fly? Who wants to be a pilot?” asked Icema Gibbs, Director of Corporate Responsibility at JetBlue Airlines. “What do you have to do before flying? You have to read and understand all of the concepts that pilots have to know,” Ms. Gibbs explained.
“This is the fourth year that JetBlue has partnered with Random House in this effort. Our partnership gives us access to the Magic Tree House as a fun way to get students excited about reading,” Ms. Gibbs said. “We surveyed our customers to see what was important to them. Education rated highly so we decided to put together a reading program that would allow us to make a difference and move the needle for social change, but also to interact with our customers.”
“We want kids to understand the importance of reading, and relate it to their career aspirations whether it’s being a pilot or something else,” Ms. Gibbs continued. “Statistics show that only one in 300 children in low income neighborhoods has age appropriate books and if we can instill a lifelong love of reading to these children, perhaps they can teach their younger siblings for example, and become comfortable reading to others.”
“For children, reading presents an opportunity for your imagination to soar which is what I tell my own daughter,” Ms. Gibbs said lastly. “Books can help take you to different places you can’t physically go.”
After watching the Magic Tree House show, the students received their books and a soccer lesson from players from D.C. United who were on hand. “My favorite book is probably Quiet Strength by Tony Dungy,” said Perry Kitchen of D.C. United.
This summer, through Soar with Reading, JetBlue is asking consumers to help inspire children’s imaginations to take flight by donating $500,000 worth of Magic Tree House books to kids in need. Consumers can donate a book by guessing where the storybook characters, Jack & Annie, are traveling based on clues about their whereabouts, available on SoarWithReading.com and through the inflight TV entertainment on Jet Blue flights. Each guess triggers a book donation on behalf of the participant and enters them into a bi-weekly sweepstakes to win a Jet Blue Getaways vacation package. One lucky family of four will win a grand prize Jet Blue Getaways vacation.