United Way Reading Program Celebrates Milestone with Young Readers


TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) – The United Way of Greater Topeka Junior Reading program has just reached a major milestone.

Young leaders from the nonprofit organization celebrated the distribution of their 50,000th book at the Pine Ridge Prep Pre-School on Wednesday by reading to young students.

The featured book was titled “The Caring Me I Want to Be” with special guest reader Ryan Yamka – the founder of the program.

The program was established in 2010, marking 12 years serving children in the Topeka community. The initiative was created to inspire children to read and set them on a path to success, according to United Way of Greater Topeka CEO and President Jessica Lehnherr.

“We know that when children have books in their hands and they read competently, it sets them up for success for so much more throughout their lives, so it’s really important to make sure that all children have access to the same books and that we provide that to them,” Lehnherr said.

Yamka said he had two goals in mind when he first created the program.

“The first was to create a reading program that honored my father, Harry Yamka, and his dedication to helping children,” according to Yamka. “The second was to create a reading program that puts books into the hands of children who may not have easy access to them. With the second goal being the most important, it was essential to create a program that was not only sustainable through donations and volunteerism, but could thrive and grow so that it would be successful in the future.

To learn more about the reading program, click HERE.


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