McDuffie County Partners for Success is waging a war with printed words.
The mission: reduce illiteracy and increase the love of reading in McDuffie County. The weapons: More than 26,000 books.
"A community that reads is a better community and a more productive community," said Miriam Smith, executive director of Partners for Success.
"It's important to instill the love of reading at an early age. That is one of the main driving forces behind this program."
The books were handed out in a variety of ways.
Mrs. Smith said -- thanks to the cooperation of Superintendent of Schools Jim LeBrun -- many of the books were delivered to McDuffie County's eight schools last week.
Some schools are keeping the books with plans to integrate them into the 2010-2011 school year curriculum.
Meanwhile, other schools -- like Thomson Elementary -- gave the books to students as farewell gifts on the last day of school. Mrs. Smith said she hopes the students will take the books home and read them this summer.
"We know the importance of making sure that students stay on the learning train over the summer,"
"Once they step off that train, it can be difficult to jump back on quickly. We hear that from teachers at the start of every school year."
However, the schools were not the only distribution points for the books. Leadership McDuffie's Class of 2010 also helped distribute the books by setting up a booth at Mayfest in Dearing. Those books were given to parents and other community members, Mrs. Smith said.
"It's wonderful to think that in houses across McDuffie County there are parents reading to children and children reading to parents using these books," she said.
"I just can't thank the school system and the Leadership McDuffie volunteers enough. Their love for this community, its families and its students made this program happen."
McDuffie County Partners for Success is the Family Connection and Communities in Schools site for McDuffie County.