CHILDREN in the Shoalhaven are about to receive more exposure to quality books thanks to a program that aims to Paint The Town REaD.
Cullunghutti Aboriginal Child and Family Centre is hoping to use the initiative to foster a love of reading in children going through tough times.
Once complete, the program will result in bags of books to be distributed to various organisations that help homeless families. The books will also be distributed to families in need.
Staff from Cullunghutti pitched their idea to the panel at this year’s Southern Cross Housing Shark Tank fundraiser for homelessness organisations.
Building company Strongbuild offered to make boxes which will be placed in the waiting rooms of organisations that deal with families experiencing housing issues or other disadvantage.
The CWA offered to make book bags which could be handed out to families. Integrity Strata donated money toward the project.
Cullunghutti Aboriginal Child and Family Centre early education manager Tracey Kirk-Downey wanted to put the opportunity for children to read books, right at the coal face of situations that might normally prevent it.
“Paint the Town REaD is going gangbusters all over the country and we’re one of about 30 sites to join in,” she said.
“It’s about promoting reading, writing, singing and talking to children.
“We hope while children wait with their parents during an appointment at one of the organisations they will have books to read, and some quality time together.
“We are also hoping to have the book bags in police cars that could be offered to children when officers are attending domestic violence situations,” Ms Kirk-Downey said.
“We’d like to get the books into police stations as well.”
As part of the Paint The Town REaD program a mascot that is specific to the Shoalhaven will be created and named by children.
Each area comes up with different ways to create their mascots and when the children see it they know it’s to do with reading.
Ms Kirk-Downey said it was a wonderful community way of supporting children’s literacy development.