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MIDFLORIDA’s Gift of Reading Features Special Guest Reader

Award-winning author to visit and read to two local schools

As kindergarteners settle into their first year of school, they can look forward to a special visit from a local financial institution. Beginning this month, MIDFLORIDA will kick off its eighth annual Gift of Reading program; however, this year holds a special surprise. On November 19, the award-winning author of the selected book, “The Three Little Pigs and the Somewhat Bad Wolf” (Orchard Books/Scholastic), Mark Teague, will join MIDFLORIDA volunteers at two schools in Polk County – Caldwell Elementary in Auburndale and Garner Elementary in Winter Haven. As part of the Gift of Reading program, volunteers will read to every kindergarten class in Polk, Highlands, Hardee, DeSoto, Okeechobee and Indian River counties, as well as a few schools in the Tampa area. Afterwards, a copy of the book will be given to all kindergarten teachers and students, as well as to each school’s media center.

This year’s book was chosen by the Polk County School Board District Office and MIDFLORIDA’s senior management because of its beautifully painted images and clever storytelling. Teague is not only the author, but the artist behind the edge-to-edge oil painted illustrations throughout the book. “This book has a great message that highlights responsible spending in combination with acceptance and forgiveness,” stated Jeanette Wallace, Assistant Vice President and Community Relations Coordinator for MIDFLORIDA. “It was an easy choice for us as a financial institution, as our mission has always been to improve the financial well-being of our members. Teaching children this lesson early on with a dose of humor seemed like the perfect fit.”

MIDFLORIDA’s commitment to this program goes further than just footing the bill for 14,000 books. The credit union also provides the manpower that makes the Gift of Reading program a success each year. More than 75 volunteers are recruited from its staff, senior management team and board of directors to visit over 100 elementary schools within their service area. “We look forward to our Gift of Reading program every year,” said Wallace. “It’s a great way to participate in the education of the children in our communities and the experience is just as rewarding for our volunteers.”

MIDFLORIDA is a state-chartered financial institution headquartered in Lakeland, Fla. The credit union has grown to serve almost 200,000 members with assets nearing $1.9 billion through its network of branches, more than 60 ATMs, and through its website, midflorida.com. MIDFLORIDA Credit Union is open for membership to anyone who lives, works, worships or attends school within their service area of 18 Central Florida counties spanning from coast to coast.