Reading Road Show wins $75K award

james madison university jmuJames Madison University’s Reading Road Show, more affectionately known as the Gus Bus, is the recipient of an award, which brought in a $75,000 donation.

Each year, the Chick-fil-A Foundation honors and supports organizations who further their founder’s legacy of generosity, community service, and dedication to inspire the next generation through the True Inspiration Award.

The Gus Bus was one of five finalists of this award for the northeast region and on Tuesday, Nov. 27, it was announced they would be the recipient of the $75,000 check from the Chick-fil-A Foundation.

“I am thrilled that we received this recognition for the Gus Bus program,” explained Rachel Gagliardi, Gus Bus literacy specialist. “I am excited for all the possibilities to better our program with this money.”

This award was determined not only by the caliber of the program but also by votes from the public. Members of the public actively supported this program, voted through social media channels, and helped earn this award.

Under JMU’s Institute for Innovation in Health and Human Services, the Reading Road Show is one of many programs of the Youth Services Division, which coordinates services for area youth throughout the Shenandoah Valley.

The Reading Road Show is a mobile literacy program that helps to bring literacy opportunities into the neighborhood of students. On the Gus Bus, instructors provide story time, activities, and book checkout for students. The Gus Bus works in collaboration with the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank to hand out food bags at each neighborhood stop. There are two mobile literacy vehicles that serve neighborhoods in the city of Harrisonburg and Page County.

The Gus Bus is currently serving more than 200 unique students in the community. Since the summer (2018), more than 700 food bags were distributed to families. The Gus Bus, in partnership with the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank, served more than 7,200 individuals through their produce market throughout 2018.

This is not the first national award for this program. In the fall of 2016, staff members accepted the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award, which was presented to them by Michelle Obama, former first lady.

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