As former Governor Jeb Bush and his sister, Doro Bush Koch, take to their new roles as the co-chairs of the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, Jeb and his wife Columba Bush have launched the 12th Annual Celebration of Reading to help fight illiteracy among U.S. students.
Governor Bush hosted his first Celebration of Reading in Florida in 2000, and each year the event raises around $1.8 million to support grass roots family literacy academies focused on providing families with a second chance at education – providing instruction to those who need to improve their English language, reading and writing skills.
Supporters this year include former First Lady Barbara Bush, Doro Bush Koch and bestselling authors including Jeff Kinney, Greg Kincaid and Randall Wallace.
Governor Bush said:
"For years, Doro and I have been actively working to give parents a chance for a better life by improving their educational skills and becoming better teachers to their own children. We take on this leadership role ready to move family literacy forward through innovative ideas; programs focused on accountability and results and opportunities to make education exciting in this fast-paced world of digital learning."
Doro Bush Koch said:
"We are honored to carry on our mother's incredible passion, working with her to bring educational opportunities to thousands and thousands more families in America for the next twenty years.
"We recognize much more must be done to challenge the crippling impact of illiteracy and its direct tie to poverty."
As the literacy movement grows across America, Governor Bush highlighted the work of the Dollar General Literacy Foundation who has already contributed more than $1.8 million to support literacy initiatives and student scholarships.
Dollar General plans to play a major role with the evolving Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy as does the Florida Association of Postsecondary Schools and Colleges (FAPSC) who marks its third year as a Celebration partner, donating higher education scholarships to the most deserving family literacy students.
Maria Segura, a former recipient of a scholarship, where her tuition and fees were covered at FAPSC member school Southwest Florida College, is this year's Celebration student speaker.
"From the time I stepped into my first college class, I knew I was meant to be a teacher – not the migrant farm worker I had always been.
"So I stand here today as the proud owner of a college diploma, plus I graduated with honors! I earned my associate of science degree and am preparing to work toward my bachelor's. Thank you. I couldn't have done it without the incredible family literacy program that got me on the path to success."