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APSO, United Way of Central Alabama campaign hold book drive for Better Basics

As part of this year’s campaign supporting the United Way of Central Alabama, the Alabama Power Service Organization (APSO) hosted a book drive benefiting United Way partner agency Better Basics. Employees donated 178 books by ordering from a preapproved Amazon wish list.

“We’re so grateful to APSO for including this book drive as part of the United Way campaign this year,” said Alisa Boone, director of development and communications for Better Basics. “These books will be so valuable for our programs this year to help students grow and develop reading-comprehension skills. We always need a supply of new books as we continue to work with students across central Alabama.”

“I was excited to participate in this book drive and provide new books for children during this difficult time,” said Susan McKinney, an accounting services manager and APSO member. “I’m so glad APSO has been able to continue to support our communities through virtual volunteer projects this year.”

Founded 27 years ago, Better Basics provides literacy intervention and enrichment programs for students in 35 schools. The pandemic has had a significant impact on Better Basics. Most of its academic services involve in-person meetings with students in Birmingham City SchoolsFairfield City SchoolsTalladega County Schools and others. Better Basics has had to adapt to virtual lessons for the reading and mathematics programs and train its teachers in these new methods of instruction.

For an organization that served nearly 22,000 students last year and worked with more than 900 volunteers, 2020 has been a challenge, but has provided opportunities to work with community partners more than ever.

“It truly does take a village to help further our mission of advancing academic achievement,” said Kristi Bradford, executive director of Better Basics. “The generosity of Alabama Power employees allows Better Basics to reach even more children in our community.”

“We worked closely with United Way at the beginning of the pandemic to raise funds to buy 9,500 new books,” Boone said. “Through their partnership, we were able to connect with other organizations like food pantries already in the communities where our students live that could pass out books along with food and supplies.”

Most of Better Basics’ academic programming is focused on elementary students, but it supports students through 12th grade through programs like Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, which provides children birth through 5 with a free, age-appropriate book in the mail each month. ACT prep courses are provided for high school students through the Hope 21st Century Community Learning Center in Fairfield.

Bradford said Better Basics is grateful for volunteer support from groups like APSO and financial support from organizations like United Way and the Alabama Power Foundation. This year, especially, every bit helps continue the work to advance reading and mathematical literacy across central Alabama

(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)