District 68 state Rep. Jud McMillin (R-Brookville) along with House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis), fellow legislators and staff recently joined students at the Shepherd Community Center, Indianapolis, to read to them as part of a bipartisan House service day.
McMillin said, “Kids are impressionable, especially during the early stages of their lives, so reading to them and showing the importance and value of books can have a positive impact on their long-term development. The House Republicans recognize the importance of early childhood education, which is why we set that as one of our legislative priorities this session. By strengthening Indiana’s early education model, we can improve that foundation that leads to a child’s academic success.”
House members brought their favorite children’s books to read to underprivileged kindergartners and first- and second-grade students at the center, which is dedicated to supporting impoverished children in the fight against poverty.
“It is truly humbling to see all the work that Shepherd Community Center is doing to break the cycle of poverty. I look forward to all of the good that comes from such an incredible organization,” said Bosma.
Children living in poverty are more likely to be further behind their peers when they begin their K-12 education. These children are less likely to be enrolled in pre-K programs or have meaningful educational experiences prior to entering kindergarten. A child in an impoverished family is read to an average of 25 hours before starting kindergarten, compared to an average of 1,000 hours for children of middle-class families.
“Our kids need solid role models, no matter where they are. In southeast Indiana, our schools and other organizations like Shepherd Community Center are always looking for more people to interact and get involved with students,” said McMillin, who represents all of Union County and portions of Dearborn and Franklin counties. “I encourage those with free time to read at our local schools, or please contact my office if anyone would like me to participate in similar events.” The representative can be reached at 317-232-9769 or firstname.lastname@example.org.