Robert Griffin III (RGIII) joined JetBlue in DC today to kick off the airline’s summer reading initiative Soar with Reading, a pilot program that aims to replenish books in Southeast DC.
RGIII helped the award-winning program celebrate its 5th anniversary and launch its local pilot program, which will put three customized, one-of-a-kind book vending machines at select locations throughout Southeast, to provide free books to kids in the area.
JetBlue recently commissioned a study that found Anacostia to be a book desert, meaning that there is little access to purchase age-appropriate books for children. The study found that there was only one book for every 830 children in Anacostia.
DC was selected to receive these vending machines as a result of the study. Since 2011, JetBlue’s Soar with Reading has donated over $1,250,000 worth of books to kids and communities in need.
To celebrate the unveiling of these machines, JetBlue’s party featured a book reading by RGIII, face painting, arts & crafts, remarks from community leaders and JetBlue representatives, and children testing out the vending machines to receive their own book.
Throughout the summer, JetBlue will also host weekly readings at vending machine locations — which will be restocked as supplies diminish.