Kids get supplies, parents get advice at Orange County back-to-school event

Giveaway at Eccleston Elementary School draws hundreds

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Just a few weeks ahead of school starting for many Central Florida districts, many events and giveaways have been planned to ensure you and your children are set.

Saturday morning, hundreds of families showed up at Eccleston Elementary School in Orange County for a literacy and book giveaway, pushing the importance of reading at an early age.

“It helps me learn, read and helps me be smart,” said Amari Brazell.

Six-year-old Amari is heading to 1st grade in a few weeks and said he was so excited Saturday to get several free books, literacy materials and a backpack ahead of classes.

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His grandmother said the literacy event and school supply giveaway was right on time.

“We need to be out here getting all the books we can, teaching our kids, reading to our kids, so they can understand that history is important, reading is important and education is important,” Cynthia Harris said.

Saturday’s giveaway in Orlando’s Richmond Heights community was hosted in part by Need to Read Inc., a nonprofit that regularly hosts literacy events — particularly in minority communities — all to push the importance of reading at a young age.

“We have to start early with our children because low literacy leads to all kinds of detrimental outcomes,” said Pastor Roderick Zak.

Zak is the pastor at Rejoice in the Lord Ministries, as well as president and CEO of Need to Read Inc.

He worked alongside school leaders and many community partners to get results and give out more than 4,000 books to nearly 400 children.

Luis Centron said he was happy that his 5-year-old daughter is heading to kindergarten at Eccleston Elementary.

“They gave me a call for this event and I said I’ll definitely be there because I can’t miss an event for my daughter, her first time being in school,” Centron said. “It’s so valuable because they can learn so much from it. They can learn from small words to big words they never knew about.”

There was also free literacy training for parents, meant to help them better understand the importance of exposing their kids to reading at an early age.

A raffle for prizes was held as well, which included a laptop, tablet, food, gift cards, bicycles and a television.

We’re told Orange County’s Eccleston Elementary School offers many free services year-round, including medical and dental services, mental health support and so much more.

Find out more about the Need to Read nonprofit by visiting its website.

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About the Author:

Jerry Askin is an Atlanta native who came to News 6 in March 2018 with an extensive background in breaking news.