READ NYC, hosted by United Way of New York City and Skanska USA, emphasized the importance of helping children learn and develop a love of reading with interactive alphabet games, reading circles and book giveaways.
Also, games such as chess were set up to encourage teens to engage in activities that strengthen their minds.
Over 2,000 books were given away at the festival and 30 nonprofit organizations hosted tables to highlight their work in the community.
The festival served a separate purpose as a rally to raise awareness and support for the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. The campaign aims at increasing the level of reading proficiency for children of low-income families in at least a dozen states by 2020.
“United Way of NYC is thrilled to celebrate our 5th annual community festival with a focus this year on getting kids excited about learning and reading,” said Sheena Wright, president and CEO of United Way of NYC. “We recognize that our students and their families are struggling to succeed.”
In addition to the literature theme, Elmo from Sesame Street made an appearance, children were getting their faces painted and those in attendance were able to meet the Brooklynettes, the dance team for the Brooklyn Nets.
“Our mission is to leave cities better than we find them,” said Bill Flemming president of Skanska USA. “This event is a perfect example of how New Yorkers from all walks of life can come together to make our city better.”