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University Relations

University of Central Missouri
Administration 302
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Phone: 660-543-4640
Fax: 660-543-4943


UCM Organizations Form Partnership to Bring Free Books to Children

Contact: Mike Greife
WARRENSBURG, MO (Oct. 12, 2015) – Area children will have an opportunity to start and add to their own personal libraries through the collaborative efforts of three University of Central Missouri organizations.

Announcing the receipt of a PBS KIDS Local Book Distribution grant were, left to right, Mary Clevenger, outreach coordinator for KMOS-TV; Phil Hoffman, UCM director of broadcasting services; Matt Thomas, professor of reading an coordinator of the Keen Reading program; Scott Smith, professor of marketing and ENACTUS advisor; and Amy Farr, graduate assistant in the College of Education.

A partnership between KMOS-TV, the university’s public broadcasting station; Keen Reading, a literacy action initiative developed by Matt Thomas, professor of reading at UCM; and Enactus, a student entrepreneurial action organization at UCM, resulted in the receipt of a PBS KIDS Local Book Distribution grant.

Deborah Turnbow, director of the Office of Sponsored Programs, initially recognized the opportunity for the collaboration that would result in a successful application for the PBS Member Station Local Book Distribution Grant, which required local PBS affiliates to develop a partnership with a literacy group to distribute the free books to a targeted group of children from low-income families.

Mary Clevenger, outreach coordinator for KMOS-TV, a PBS affiliate and sponsor of the annual PBS KIDS Young Writers program each summer, partnered with Thomas, who developed the Keen Reading program at UCM, which seeks to broaden the literacy skill and reading habits of all readers, to begin developing the grant application. Clevenger and Thomas, with assistance from graduate assistant Amy Farr, then reached out to Scott Smith, professor of marketing and adviser of ENACTUS, a UCM student group committed to using entrepreneurial action to transform lives and create a positive community impact. ENACTUS does an annual holiday event for children in December, which will provide the opportunity for distribution to the target audience of children.

As a grant recipient, KMOS-TV and Keen Reading received more than 900 children’s books to be distributed to area children, starting with those attending the ENACTUS Jubilee Christmas store planned for December 2015.

“We’re excited to work with Dr. Thomas and Keen Reading to encourage the love of reading in children,” said Phil Hoffman, UCM director of broadcasting services. “It always has been the mission of PBS, which is based in educational television.”

Thomas noted the collaboration of the three entities on campus that made the receipt of the grant possible.

“Our ability to partner with KMOS-TV in applying for the PBS KIDS grant fit perfectly with the mission of Keen Reading,” he said, “and partnering with ENACTUS was the perfect vehicle for distribution that helped us meet the requirement of the grant.”

For Smith, the project adds another dimension to the ENACTUS holiday event designed to reach out to children in need.

“The goal of ENACTUS is to provide an outlet for students studying business to use the skills they are learning in a community outreach effort,” he said. “Adding the distribution of free books to the children who will be attending the Jubilee Christmas store event in December makes the experience even more meaningful.”.