Iron Bowl rivalry prompts Alabama DA offices to raise nearly $6K for childhood literacy – al.com

Inspired by Iron Bowl rivalry, the offices of Jessica Ventiere, Lee County District Attorney, left, and Hays Webb, Tuscaloosa County District Attorney, competed to raise money for Reach Out and Read-Alabama. They raised about $6,000 in book drives.(Courtesy of Reach Out and Read-Alabama)
If you think the Iron Bowl rivalry is all about trash talk and touchdowns, think again.
Two district attorney offices in Alabama launched a friendly competition this month to raise money for charity, prompted by the annual football game pitting the University of Alabama Crimson Tide against the Auburn University Tigers.
Offices of the Lee County District Attorney and Tuscaloosa County District Attorney held competing book drives, Nov. 1-26, for Reach Out and Read-Alabama, a program of the Alabama Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. The nonprofit organization partners with medical practices and clinics, providing books for needy children.
Together, the two district attorney offices raised nearly $6,000 for Reach out and Read-Alabama, according to a spokeswoman for the organization. The Tuscaloosa District Attorney’s office was the winner, raising $3,230 of the $5,981 total.
The money will benefit about 26,000 children and families served by the two program sites in Lee County — Pediatric Associates of Auburn and Pediatric Clinic — and five program sites in Tuscaloosa County. They are Alabama Multi Specialty Clinic, Bama Pediatrics, Crimson Pediatrics, The University of Alabama College of Community Health Sciences and West Alabama Pediatrics.
Donations from the book drives will be used to buy books “prescribed by a pediatrician to support families in understanding their children’s developmental milestones,” the organization says. “Research has shown that when parents read books with their young children, they foster healthy brain development and create strong parent-child bonds that last a lifetime.”
Right now, 57 of Alabama’s pediatric practices and clinics serve as Reach Out and Read-Alabama program sites in 32 counties, impacting 40 percent of the state’s children younger than age 5, the organization says.
“Illiteracy is common among individuals in the criminal justice system. Investing in literacy efforts like Reach Out and Read-Alabama is an investment in our children, strong family bonds, and safer communities,” Jessica Ventiere, Lee County district attorney, said in a statement. “We appreciate everyone, regardless of who they cheer for, who participated in the Iron Bowl book drive.”
“Thank you to everyone who contributed. We believe that strong families build strong communities and that reading is essential to every child’s success,” Hays Webb, Tuscaloosa County district attorney, said in a statement. “We are glad to compete for this wonderful cause, and we wish everyone a joyous holiday season. Roll Tide!”
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