New scooters, bikes, and other prizes will soon be in the hands of young readers in Lafayette Parish, thanks to the Kiwanis Club of Lafayette.
The organization is partnering with LPSS to launch the Rewards for Reading program this year to award students for earning points in the Accelerated Reading program.
Since launching the program, schools have reported seeing nearly a 60 percent increase in participation.
Wednesday, members of the Kiwanis Club held drawings at Ernest Gallet Elementary and Milton Elementary. 10 students who have met their AR goals were selected as winners of various prizes. Up for grabs: two bikes, four scooters, and four gift bags.
The prizes though, are not the program's main goal, the Kiwanis Club said.
"This is all secondary. Ultimately, it's just to be picking up books and reading. We hope they come away with a joy of reading," explained Brett Bayard, chairman of the Rewards for Reading program.
Bayard added that the program is important because it gives kids an incentive to push harder than they may have otherwise, working to make their reading goals.
Wednesday's drawing was the first of many. The Kiwanis Club will make their way to 2-4 schools in Lafayette Parish each day for the next two weeks. Bayard said when the program ends, they will have visited 24 schools, impacting 1`4,000 elementary school students.
The community also got involved in the program. Area law enforcement, UL Lafayette, the Lafayette Public Library System, ACA, and various other organizations donated to fill up the gift bags. Bayard said the Kiwanis Club also received 120 Happy Meals from McDonalds for the gift bags.
Ultimately, Bayard said the club feels the rewards program has been a success, especially in the middle of a difficult school year and the COVID-19 pandemic. The Kiwanis Club hopes to continue the program next year.
For more information, visit lafayettekiwanis.org.
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