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REAL MEN READ: Inspiring Impoverished Youth in Wyoming Valley

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Community Relations Manager of Wilkes-Barre, Pa-based United Way of Wyoming Valley, Rae B., explains how books in bulk make an impact in impoverished communities, and how reading to and engaging with children in these communities can affect positive change on a much larger scale.

“Our children are going to be in our place someday, tomorrow’s leaders. So, we’re doing all we can to give them the tools and abilities they need to become successful, to give them the best chance they have, and put their best foot forward.”

Poverty to Possibility

About five years ago, the Wyoming Valley chapter of the United Way adopted a community impact model, meaning that in future projects and outreach efforts, they would work on assisting impoverished communities, with a focus on children and early education.

“It’s incredibly difficult to see children in these situations,” Rae said. “You can tell they’re living in poverty. They need support and guidance.”

Of course, with education comes the topic of literacy. Out of this change in focus, the REAL MEN READ program was born, leading Rae’s team on a journey to instill a love of reading in the hearts of local children, as well as introduce them to positive male role models who value education, community, and learning.

So, what is REAL MEN READ?

We’ll let Rae explain:

“REAL MEN READ is a program where, each month, MENtors come into local community schools and read to children – mostly Kindergartners – for an hour. Our MENtors are positive male role models that come from a variety of diverse backgrounds and industries – bankers, restaurateurs, accountants, businessmen, teachers, and more..."


"At the end of the classroom readings, each child is given a copy of the book that was read to take home with them in the hopes that they will begin a home library or encourage their parent(s) to read with them.”

Some of the children's books that REAL MEN READ has ordered include:


Zack's Alligator

The Mitten

A Tale About Tails

Many families in impoverished communities are single-parent households, where the child’s parent may work two or more jobs to support the family. This means that expenses for items such as books for children are often set aside in favor of other necessities.

For many children, the REAL MEN READ program is the first time they receive a book of their very own to take home – as well as the first experience they have with a positive male role model.

“Kids need to know that people in their community, men in their community, value education and learning. Rae added, “It’s incredibly important for them to see this.”

Making an Impact


From one school district to three, from one classroom to twenty – the REAL MEN READ program has made great strides in their community, and has reached hundreds of children through their efforts.

“We order about 670 books now,” Rae told Bulk Bookstore. “That means that 670 kids are getting quality books to help them hopefully cultivate a love of reading – and that’s what matters.”

Moving forward, Rae knows that the journey to bring education awareness, a love of literacy, and community togetherness will not always be an easy one.

“It’s going to take a lot of time, and it’s going to take the entire community to come on board,” she said. “Slowly but surely, though, we’re getting our message out there. It’s all about taking small steps in those high impact areas.”

We have no doubt that the REAL MEN READ program will continue to positively affect their local communities for years to come.


“Bulk Bookstore, through their bulk pricing structure, free shipping and customer service, have helped us educate many more children who live in poverty in our community than would be possible if we bought the same books at retail. Giving children access to quality books through the REAL MEN READ program will encourage a love for reading and the value of education. Thank you, Bulk Bookstore!” – Rae B.

Bulk Bookstore is proud to work with and support the United Way of Wyoming Valley, as well as many other United Way chapters. We hope to continue to provide books to Rae and her team, as the REAL MEN READ program progresses!

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