New York, NY (July 18, 2013): The Brooke Jackman Foundation (BJF), a children’s literacy organization that has donated more than 200,000 books to children and families in need since its founding in 2001, and the Screen Actors Guild Foundation BookPALS (Performing Artists for Literacy in Schools), its signature children’s literacy program where 2,200 SAG-AFTRA performers read to 60,000 children in schools, hospitals and social service agencies every month, have partnered to launch Books Talk Back, an interactive new series of theatrical readings and book donations for underserved children in the New York area. Led by actress Dana Marie Ingraham, who is currently performing in Spiderman on Broadway, the first reading was held on Thursday, July 18, for 30 special needs children, ages two to three, who are receiving site-based early intervention at the Challenge Early Intervention Center in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.
The Challenge Early Intervention Center, which provides services for children with special needs, currently has no funding for libraries in its classrooms. In an effort to meet this need, BJF donated 140 books to create mini libraries in each of the school’s five classrooms. This book donation also ensured that each of the 80 students in the early intervention program went home with a book of his or her own.
“The children at Challenge Early Intervention Center are extraordinary, and we are thankful for the opportunity to serve this community and encourage interactive reading as a daily activity,” said Erin Jackman, executive director of the Brooke Jackman Foundation. “Working with the SAG Foundation BookPALS, we want to capture the imagination of these children and have them fall into a lifelong love of reading.”
“The SAG Foundation BookPALS are delighted to be working with the Brooke Jackman Foundation in providing critical literacy programming to the students who need it most,” said Jill Seltzer, executive director of the SAG Foundation.
Each Books Talk Back reading will feature professional actors from SAG Foundation BookPALS who will dramatically read children’s books specifically selected for their humor, diverse characters and ample wacky roles for the professional actors to perform, creating a thrilling literacy experience for children of all ages. Each event will also be accompanied by a book donation from the Brooke Jackman Foundation, ensuring all participants go home with a book of their own.
Several Books Talk Back events will be held throughout the coming year. Each event will serve a different population of children in need. For more information on these events, please firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Brooke Jackman Foundation
The Brooke Jackman Foundation was started 11 years ago to honor Brooke Jackman, a bright and compassionate 23-year-old who was killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks before achieving her dream of becoming a social worker. Brooke was an avid reader, and her passion and commitment to literacy and helping children spurred the Jackman family to create BJF as her living legacy – turning tragedy and despair into hope for a better world. Since 2001, the Brooke Jackman Foundation has donated nearly 200,000 books and over 20,000 Brooke Packs, backpacks filled with books and school supplies, to children and families in need. BJF has established four libraries, as well as a number of after-school literacy programs in schools, homeless shelters and Family Justice Centers for victims of domestic violence and crime. The BJF Family Literacy program welcomes over 1,000 families a year at schools in Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Washington Heights and Inwood, as well as at the NYC Family Justice Centers in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx. For more information, please visitwww.brookejackmanfoundation.org.
About the Screen Actors Guild Foundation and BookPALS
The Screen Actors Guild Foundation provides vital assistance and educational programming to the professionals of SAG-AFTRA while serving the public at large through its signature children’s literacy programs. Founded in 1985, the Screen Actors Guild Foundation is a national non-profit organization, independent from SAG-AFTRA, that relies solely on support from grants, corporate sponsorships, and individuals to maintain its programs and create new ones. Visit www.sagfoundation.org andwww.bookpals.net