Group hoping to raise $10K for local child reading initiative

·2 min read

A team of volunteers is working to get more books in the hands of local children.

Mike Flieger and a small team are working on a community literacy initiative, which has a goal of raising $10,000. If the goal is reached, a corporate sponsor will match it. With $20,000, the group could get books in the hands of 470 kids from the community.

The initiative will work with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, which mails age-appropriate books to children in North America every month.

The goal of the local initiative is to raise enough money so no families have to pay for the service.

“The goal here is to work with kids before they’re in school,” said Flieger. “We’re going to work to get kids in Medicine Hat new reading material every month. Ideally we’d even get to work with pediatrician offices and do birthing packages.”

The cost for each child is $42.60 per year, which comes out to around $3.50 per book, per month. Flieger says the program will be free for everyone who successfully applies.

“We don’t want there to be any barriers for this,” he said.

Zero fees or costs are taken off any of the donations, meaning every penny donated to the program goes toward helping kids read.

“Anyone in Medicine Hat who donates $45 dollars to this can be sure their money will go to helping a child read for a year,” said Flieger. “Another nice thing is the books get shipped directly to the families.”

The program will hopefully inspire young kids in the community, Flieger says.

“We want to encourage curiosity and expand worldview of young kids,” he said. “We’re hopeful we can get books into the hands of kids who may not be able to get them otherwise.

“The pandemic has caused such havoc with people’s finances, and we just hope to help out in this way.”

Flieger says everything is in the early stages still, but you can contact his work email for more information –

Updates on the program and signup links will be posted on the Medicine Hat Public School Division and the Elm Street School social media pages.

Mo Cranker, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News