If you give a kid a K Bag

Volunteers needed to stuff and deliver Kindergarten Readiness Bags

by Angie Matthiessen, Executive Director – United Way of Charlotte County

According to children’s author Laura Numeroff, if you give a mouse a cookie, he’s going to ask for a glass of milk. If you are familiar with the story of the same name, you know that the mouse’s appetite for more (more consumables and more experiences) is never quenched.

The same can be said for many of our youngest learners. They come with an insatiable appetite for both cookies and learning opportunities.

Annually, The Patterson Foundation generously provides funding to purchase materials for Kindergarten Readiness Bags for all incoming kindergarten students across the Suncoast region, including Charlotte County, to help quench those appetites and prepare students for their entry into kindergarten. In our office, we refer to these as “K Bags” for short.

The bags are stuffed with flashcards, literacy charts, magnetic letters, drawing paper, jumbo crayons, a Josh the Baby Otter book, and Magic Postcards (you can read about those at unitedwayccfl.org/news/magical). For parents and caregivers, there is a Kindergarten Readiness Checklist, and a Parent Guide that will explain a variety of fun ways to use the flash cards and magnets. Additionally, a video of how parents and caregivers can make the best use of these resources can be found linked on our website at unitedwayccfl.org/grade-level-reading.

Each bag needs to be stuffed with the individual educational materials provided by The Patterson Foundation and delivered to local preschool (VPK) providers. United Way of Charlotte County supports this effort through the coordination of annual bag-stuffing and distribution. We invite you to give of your time on Feb. 7 at the Baker Center in Punta Gorda to stuff and/or deliver the Kindergarten Readiness Bags to help support our youngest learners.

Different stations and shifts are available from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

K Bags are part of a bigger movement called the Charlotte County Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. United Way of Charlotte County is the lead agency for this campaign because we know the impact that early childhood education has on our community. Will you join us at the Baker Center to put these engaging materials in the hands of these hungry learners? A few hours of your time will help us bridge the gap between preschool students and the future of Charlotte County.

We are grateful for The Patterson Foundation for continuing to prioritize school readiness in our community. For more information on United Way of Charlotte County’s work as the lead agency for the Charlotte County Campaign for Grade-Level Reading or to sign up to volunteer to stuff or deliver Kindergarten Readiness Bags, please visit unitedwayccfl.org/grade-level-reading.

So, what happens if you give a kindergartner a K Bag?

More than likely, he’s going to dive into learning and be better prepared for his first day of kindergarten. He might also ask for a cookie and a glass of milk.

For more information about United Way of Charlotte County’s mission:  Mobilizing the power of our community to break the cycle of poverty, please contact Angie Matthiessen, Executive Director. She can be reached at director@unitedwayccfl.org.