By Paula DeBoles-Johnson, AmeriCorps Program Manager

PaulaAug2013Staff-150x150We know that literacy in third grade is the key to individual success and community prosperity – and that it takes an entire community to achieve this goal. What better way to share that message than with a party?

I recently had the privilege of joining LeaderCorps member, Deidre Moore and her AmeriCorps St. Lucie & Indian River Reads team members for their “Family Pajama Pizza Party” in recognition of the National Summer Learning Day. The event was held at the Heritage Center in Vero Beach, where more than 300 children showed up in their pajamas to participate in this unique event … all to promote literacy and prevent the “summer slide.” This joint LeaderCorps and AmeriCorps project partnered with Fidelity Investments, Marine Bank, Rourke Publishing, White Glove Moving and Storage, the Learning Alliance and the Moonshot Moment Organization to secure more than 2,500 books so that each child could receive several free books, book bags and school supplies.

PJ Party-01B

Dr. Fran Adams, Superintendent of the School District of Indian River County, Vero Beach Mayor Dick Winger and City Council member Bob McPartian were just a few of the dignitaries who volunteered their time as celebrity readers! Local high school students also volunteered their time as “live actors” during story time. There was face painting, karate demonstrations and music to keep the day lievely.

“I have 3 children and we read every day, so I love that they’re giving away free books. We’re going to read every one of them,” said one parent.


The event was AMAZING and a shining example of what a community of committed, mission-driven people can do to ensure that all of their students are readers! Congratulations to both the program director, Jenna Stinnett, Deidra, the AmeriCorps members, partners and volunteers on a job well done!

Leaders go first!

Paula DeBoles-Johnson
LeaderCorps Manager


For photos and more information about the Family Pajama Pizza Party, click on the link below: