United for D.C. gets kick out of reading

WASHINGTON, D.C. - United for D.C., the charitable arm of D.C. United, announced this week its Spring 2005 plans for its literacy program, United Reads. The program, which encourages area youth to fall in love with the practice of reading, kicked off the spring season component last week at Howard Road Academy in Ward 8. Additional Spring program elements include kickoff weeks at Payne Elementary School in Ward 6 (May 17 and 18) and Smothers Elementary in Ward 7 (May 23 and 24), as well as the grand opening of the first United Reads Reading Corner at Children's Heath Center on MLK Avenue in Ward 8 (June 9).

Through this program, United Reads will provide more than 1,300 new children's books to under-served youth this spring alone. In addition, D.C. United will send players to visit each and every classroom at each of the three United Reads schools. Each child in attendance during the player visits at the spring events will receive a new age-appropriate children's book along with a United Reads t-shirt and a goody bag with bookmarks, posters and stickers.

Also, in partnership with Reach Out and Read DC, United for D.C. will open its first United Reads Reading Corner at a Children's Health Center in Southeast D.C. At the MLK Avenue/Malcolm X Avenue intersection, this Center's waiting room will receive a "make over" and will be outfitted with soccer furniture, bookshelves, posters and children's books. Through this Reading Corner alone, United Reads has the potential to impact over 5,000 children over the course of one year.

"Thanks to the generosity of fans and corporations who support United Reads, we are able to make a significant impact at area schools and other locales by providing these organizations with age-appropriate books for the children whom they serve," said Catherine Marquette, Executive Director for United for D.C. and United's Community Relations Director. "Through the direct participation of United players, it is our hope that children learn that reading is important, fun and necessary regardless of their future goals."

For the fall season of 2005, United Reads will expand to include Birney Elementary in Ward 8 as well as yet-to-be-determined United Reads Reading Corner sites. In addition, United for D.C. will explore creating soccer-themed children's books utilizing its connection with D.C. United and will implement a reading challenge amongst its four partner schools.

United for D.C. receives the majority of the books it donates through D.C. United's United Children's Book Drive, which is being held at all home games during the month of May as well as at every area United Bank branch until the end of June. In addition, it receives individual and corporate donations to support United Reads.

United for D.C. will include promotional items from Major League Soccer's Get a Kick Out of Reading! program, a league-wide initiative in conjunction with the National Education Association and America SCORES, as part of its United Reads activities. Items include banners, bookmarks, posters and folders. Get a Kick Out of Reading! is entering its third year and maintains a bi-lingual website as well as other components.

For more information on the United Reads program or to receive more information about any of United for D.C.'s activities, please contact Catherine Marquette at 202-587-5443 or cmarquette@dcunited.com or visit www.unitedfordc.org. For more information on Major League Soccer's Get a Kick Out of Reading! program, please call MLS at 212-450-1200 or visit www.getakickoutofreading.org.

United for D.C.

United for D.C., Inc. was founded on January 8, 2002 as the charitable arm of Major League Soccer's D.C. United. United for D.C. is a 501(c)3 organization chartered to serve the Washington, D.C. community through the creation or support of programs, events and organizations that advance educational and social welfare opportunities (primarily health and recreational) for the area's youth, particularly those who may be economically, physically or mentally disadvantaged.


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