Reading for a cause

Albert Park College and the Rotary Club of Albert Park are using the Premiers' Reading Challenge to raise money for the Victorian Bushfire Appeal.

The Premiers' Reading Challenge has been changing lives for young Victorians for years, by inspiring millions of students to read.

Now, Rotary and a school have found a new way for the challenge to support the community.

The Rotary Club of Albert Park will donate $1 for every book read by Albert Park College students as part of the Premiers' Reading Challenge to the Victorian Bushfire Appeal.

Rotarian Ken Hall said the school's librarian, Veronica Ferrie, came up with the idea as a way to encourage students to continue reading while learning from home in response to coronavirus (COVID-19), and to help Victorians affected by bushfires.

The school first participated in the challenge last year, with students collectively reading hundreds of books. The added incentive of supporting the appeal had encouraged more students to take part in the challenge this year.

Ken said the club hoped to raise $1000 for the appeal, and at the same time, promote a love of reading.

Albert Park College principal Steve Cook said Ken and his team of community-minded locals were great role models for the school's students.

He said the fundraiser was not the first time the club and school had worked together to improve outcomes for students and communities.

Working together to improve outcomes for students and communities

Albert Park College's long-standing and mutually beneficial relationship with the Rotary Club of Albert Park formed when the school opened 10 years ago.

Club members have a dedicated area at the school's library to sort through unwanted books donated to the club by locals.

The club donates appropriate books to school libraries, including the one at Albert Park College. The rest are sold, with proceeds going to various causes including scholarships for students.

Ken said the club raised between $25,000 and $30,000 every year from the sale of donated books.

Over the past decade, the club had donated $250,000 worth of books to Albert Park College's three campuses alone.

Recently, the school teamed up with the club to send 50 boxes of books to a foundation in Vanuatu for distribution to schools there.

Premiers' Reading Challenge

The 2020 Victorian Premiers' Reading Challenge is now open.

The challenge encourages children and students from birth to Year 10 to read a set number of books over the year and record their efforts online.

Since the challenge first began in 2005, more than 3 million students have read nearly 50 million books.

Since the 2020 challenge launch in March, 581 schools and 470 early childhood services have registered to take part. Students have so far read about 420,000 books.

Find out more

To donate to people affected by bushfires, visit Victorian Bushfire Appeal.

To learn more about Rotary and its work, visit Rotary Australia.