By Teresa Varley
For Charlie Batch getting involved with the Toys for Tots Literacy Program was a no-brainer. Batch already had a relationship with Toys for Tots, teaming with them the last few years for a holiday toy drive. And in November of last year his foundation, Best of the Batch, kicked off their computer literacy program.
"It's a great partnership for both of us to be able to start the program together and raise the awareness of literacy levels around the country," said Batch.
The program's mission is to offer economically disadvantaged children access to books and educational resources that will help them to compete academically and success in life as they enhance their ability to read.
"You need to be able to read for everything," said Batch. "When it all comes down to the basics reading is where it starts. You have to be able to read."
In Pennsylvania almost 30 percent of all fourth graders read below basic reading proficiency and less that 33 percent nationwide still can't read at the basic level. Those are numbers that concern Batch.
"It's sad to know that," said Batch "Some kids don't have the opportunity other kids have. You have to start somewhere. I am trying to do my part when it comes down to helping these kids out and being able to put a book into their hands. I am more than happy to do that. I have been stressing that already. Now we can get the message out even better."
Batch dove right into the program by reading to kids at the Homewood branch of Carnegie Library Pittsburgh.
"It was great," said Batch. "To be able to go to the library and be involved with kids I hadn't already had an opportunity to meet. For me it was great and for them I think it's special that they have an opportunity to meet a player and at the same time listen to the message that I am trying to get across. It's something I love doing."
PHOTO ALBUM - Photos by Danielle Hudak