ORLANDO, Fla. - Most people know the importance of reading to children for at least 20 minutes a day. For some, limited access to new books can make that a challenge, which is why one Central Florida man said it's his mission to make sure students at the Super Star's Academy Learning Center have the reading materials they need.
Ricardo Williams volunteers weekly at the center on West Church Street reading to 3-5 year old students. The learning center is open to infants and kids up to 12 years old.
"I've always been looking for opportunities to support people who have situations similar to mine growing up, so being here in Parramore and being able to come here to the day care center and read to students is really important to me," Williams said.
Williams said on a recent visit, a teacher asked him to leave a few books behind, because they needed more books for the kids. Williams runs a monthly event called Nerd Nite Orlando where people gather to hear talks on STEM topics at different venues around Orlando, most recently the Orange County Library hosted the gathering at the downtown Orlando branch. Williams said he reached out to the Nerd Nite network, and the donations came rolling in.
"People have donated books, shelves, board games and we've raised over $400, so I was able to buy a bunch of new books, as well," he said.
Natosha Whitfield owns the Super Star's Academy Learning Center.
"I saw the books and I said, 'Wait, the public library is here.' I was very excited. I was very joyful because I knew the kids would love it," she said.
Williams estimates he was able to secure about 500 books for the students, including science books, like "Astrophysics For Babies."
"Essentially what we're doing here at the day care center is what Nerd Nite is all about -- reminding you that learning is fun, and why not start that at a very early age?" Williams said. "It makes me happy knowing they're happy."
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