May 2017 marks the unveiling of First Central Credit Union's "Books 4 Kids" community outreach program. During the 2016-2017 schoolyear, the First Central staff at the Hillsboro branch worked toward the launch of this new initiative to serve Hillsboro and its surrounding areas.
The objective to give first graders throughout Hill County books to read over the Summer and a backpack was welcomed by Bynum ISD, Hillsboro ISD, Hubbard ISD and Whitney ISD. "This is a great start," said
First Central Hillsboro Branch Manager Bill Sheffield. "We expect more school districts to participate next year."
These efforts are geared to reach area elementary aged students in order to increase their reading skills. "First Central's intent is for each student to have a book to read over the Summer break and the ultimate goal is for each Hill County first grader to receive a book," President JoBetsy Tyler commented.
Educators believe Summer reading by those just learning to read, is critical in keeping up their reading level skills. Approximately 500 books were distributed this first year. Sheffield was instrumental in working with the area school districts and purchasing the books for the distribution by the Hillsboro branch staff. "Our focus this year for our first graders is reading, and for someone in the community, especially a Hillsboro graduate such as Bill (Sheffield), to give each student a book for the summer is phenomenal," said Hillsboro Elementary School Principal Robin Ralston.
We feel the impact on young readers enhances the future work force and makes the community a better place to live, Sheffield stated. Plus, what first grader doesnt like getting something they can call their own? he added.
First Central participates in Hillsboro area community oriented projects throughout the year, but plans to adopt "Books 4 Kids" as an annual effort for years to come. With the celebration of First Centrals 80th Anniversary year, Sheffield explained, we felt the timing was perfect to create something special within our Hill County school systems that reached out to families.
"Books 4 Kids" is a program First Central also participates in the Brownwood, Texas area. The Brownwood branch staff works in partnership with other local credit unions each Fall to provide books to elementary students for reading during their holiday break.