We focus the efforts of many to help our neighbors stand strong - by addressing basic needs, and fostering success in the classroom and the workplace.
This year, all Omaha GIVES donations to United Way of the Midlands will be directed to the "Book Trust" program, an initiative that provides children from low-income homes with a personal library.

Each child enrolled in Book Trust is given $7/mo with which they can buy two to three Scholastic Reading Club books and start building their very own personal library. At year end, each child will own more than 20 books to call their own!

Not only does this foster a life-long love for reading, but a child reading proficiently at grade-level increases the odds that a student will graduate high school.

• About United Way of the Midlands and Our Literacy Goal:

• Did you know: Approximately 2,100 (32%) of Council Bluffs students grades 2-11 were not reading on grade level in 2014-2015 -- AND -- 13,094 kids in grades 3-8 and 11 in Douglas and Sarpy counties weren't reading on grade level in 2014-2015.

• United Way of the Midlands is passionate about helping children in our community succeed in school, that's why we invest donor funds in local partnerships that focus on grade-level reading. We have set a goal to see 85% of 9th graders in the Omaha-Council Bluffs metro area on track to succeed in school and life. To reach this goal, we will invest in programs that improve grade-level reading for 7,000 kids by 2025.
Michael Naughton, Principal - Edison Elementary, Council Bluffs Community Schools:
"The United Way and Book Trust Partnership has impacted Edison Elementary in a tremendous way! It has given students the opportunity to choose literacy by buying books they never would have had the opportunity to afford. The smiles and excitement are unbelievable, as students get ready for the book boxes to open."

Julie Danker, Literacy Coach - Bloomer Elementary, Council Bluffs Community Schools;
"Many of our teachers stopped sending book orders home, because so few of our families were able to spend money on books. I can't tell you how excited our students are each month when they not only get to look at the catalog, but they get to choose books they want and know they will get them! The excitement is tangible.
Box opening day is always fun. They love seeing what books their classmates chose, and spending time reading together. The gift of Book Trust is empowering our students to build a love for reading."

Stacey Stoffel, 5th Grade Teacher Mockingbird Elementary, Ralston Public Schools:
"For many of our students these books are the only ones they have at home. These books are helping to get the kids excited about reading. The best is when the book box comes and the kids get independent reading time. They naturally fall into book conversations and cuddle up in cozy places to read."

Lori Irvine, Library Media Specialist - Howard Kennedy Elementary, Omaha Public Schools:
"It is an absolute joy to watch our students engage in the process Book Trust and The United Way are providing them. The children are so excited to choose their own books each month. When the books came in the first month, it took a lot of extra convincing to get them to understand that they could take them home and keep them! They have so much fun sharing about their books and making connections with other books we are reading."

Dan Orlano - Birchcrest Elementary, Bellevue Public Schools:
"Because of this program, we are getting books in the hands of kids that don't have access to them. Kids that used to have no interest in reading, now are excited about books and reading. This excitement is spilling over into other areas of school, and is truly having a lasting impact on them."

Sara Pruss, Literacy Coach - Edison Elementary, Council Bluffs Community Schools:
"Our kids do not have books at home. Not a day goes by that a kid doesn't show me a book with excitement. What a phenomenal way to share your wealth and know that it will, in fact, foster a reading life - many lives. The joy book box day brings is cause for me to return to work each day. Kids loving books and reading, something every teacher has sought since the beginning of time. Because of you, we've achieved it."