Asheville Firefighters for Literacy
Asheville Firefighters for Literacy
Posted on 10/26/2018
It was all about reading when Asheville firefighters kicked off a new program at W.W. Estes Elementary!By: Benjamin Rickert, Communications Dept.

It was all about reading when firefighters from Asheville Fire Fighters Association (IAFF Local 332) and the Asheville Fire Department visited William W Estes Elementary school earlier today. The students (clad in pajamas for Pajama Day) joined the firefighters in the gymnasium while the Pipes and Drums ensemble roared with wonderful melodies and rhythms. At the school wide pep rally, students learned that the firefighters would be spending the school year encouraging them to open books through frequent visits.

"[Firefighters for Literacy] is a reading program to encourage kids to read," said senior firefighter James Mengel. "We’ll be coming to read with them, go to lunch with them, and mentor them."

Firefighters high-five students while challenging them to read more than ever!Mengel explained that as students log their reading times and meet certain goals, they'll earn prizes like firefighter t-shirts. At the end of the school year, overall winners will be selected from each grade level to win the grand prize: A ride to school on a real fire engine!

"The students were very excited about the visit, probably more than we anticipated," said Estes' assistant principal Ms. Angie Trantham. "We are excited to have the firefighters join us and blend literacy with their wonderful profession. We know the children love it!"

Watch now via our #BCSlive video:

Official W.W. Estes Elementary School Press Release
For Immediate Release -- Asheville Firefighters for Literacy
October 11, 2018

Students at Estes Elementary will have even more incentive to read this school year, because they can earn a chance to ride to school in a fire truck.

A pair of Asheville Firefighters has started a program to encourage local kids to read more. Lieutenant John Ellis and Senior Firefighter James Mengel say “Asheville Firefighters for Literacy” will encourage kids to dig into more books as the school year begins.

“Kids love firefighters and firefighters love kids,” said Ellis, who has been with AFD since 2008. “This will be so fun for everyone involved, the kids will see how great it is to read and hopefully continue that for the rest of their lives.”

Each year, students at one area school will tally the number of books they read. The student who reads the most will get to ride to school one day like a true Literacy Superhero, riding in on an Asheville Fire Department fire truck with a group of firefighters there to welcome them.

In addition, firefighters will schedule several read-aloud sessions during the semester, when kids will have a chance to read their favorite books to firefighters.

Senior firefighter James Mengel started a similar program in his hometown of Matthews, so he knows the difference it can make in the life of area students.

“Studies show that getting kids to read is one of the most important steps to success down the road,” Mengel said. “Asheville Firefighters take a lot of pride in Asheville, and want to do everything we can to put our local kids on the track to prosperity.”

The program will kick off with a pep rally at 1:45 p.m. on October 25th. A different school will be selected every semester. The program’s coordinators plan to make sure every school serving City residents gets a turn participating.

“We are so excited to have the Asheville Firefighters join our Estes teachers in encouraging our students to read this year,” said Estes Principal Paula Pinkerton. “What a great partnership this is. As Mr. Mengel stated reading is one of the most important steps to success. What an awesome way to support our students with their reading goals. Our students will greatly benefit from the firefighters' literacy program. We are thankful that Mrs. Trantham, our Assistant Principal, worked with the Asheville Firefighters to bring this unique literacy program to Estes."

Firefighters are accepting donations of books appropriate for children ages 6-11. Monetary donations to buy books can also be made to the Asheville Firefighters Association, Local 332. All donations made to the AFFA are tax-deductible. Firefighters also hope to bring corporate sponsors on board with large-scale book donations.

For information, contact Ellis at 828-329-8407 or Mengel at 919-451-7929.
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