Skip to main content

For more information, please contact

Beverly Calender-Anderson
Community and Family Resources Department
(812) 349-3650

Bicentennial Reading Initiative Invites Volunteers to Help Surpass its Goal

Bloomington, Ind. - Having rallied strong community support for its Bicentennial Literacy Initiative, the City of Bloomington’s Commission on the Status of Black Males (CSBM) hopes to recruit additional volunteers to help the commission surpass its goal to “Read for 200.” Since January 2018, volunteers with the initiative have spent 128 of a projected 200 hours reading to Monroe County children at schools and community events.  “Read for 200” is a partnership between CSBM, the Foundation for Monroe County Community Schools and United Way of Monroe County that seeks to promote literacy, increase the visibility of men of color reading, and make reading fun.

The initiative celebrated its midpoint Saturday, June 30, with two performances of The Day the Crayons Quit, based on the book of the same name by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers.  Along with Mayor John Hamilton, CSBM members and other volunteers performed the play for nearly 175 audience members at City Hall, where the United Way of Monroe County gave away free books to all children in attendance.  

“It has been so much fun interacting with our youth,” said CSBM Chair Cornelius Wright. “I enjoy having the children interact in the reading of the stories; and seeing them waving their hands to be the next reader is so rewarding. One of my neatest experiences was having a woman and child walk up to me at a youth football game this past weekend and ask, ‘Were you the orange crayon?’”

In the remaining months of the City’s bicentennial celebration, the “Read for 200” campaign seeks to sign up additional volunteers to read classic books to children at upcoming community events.   The CSBM invites men of color to volunteer as readers by visiting, or sending an email to

“We know how important a strong start is,” said Mayor John Hamilton.  “‘Read for 200’ connects our kids with mentors, and makes reading just a little more appealing for young ones who might not yet be convinced.  Make a difference in a child’s life and the future of our great community -- Read for 200! ”