November 8, 2004
Contact:  Maryanna Abdo


LOS ANGELES, CA This Saturday, November 13, UCLA will be defending a highly coveted title, but this is not an honor earned on the football field or the basketball court. They're the winners of last year's "College Spirit Day" a friendly competition put on by Reading to Kids where schools compete to see which institution can garner up more volunteers to read for the grassroots children's charity.

"It started as a smaller competition between UCLA and USC, playing off of the football rivalry, and evolved into this statewide competition among several colleges," said Mary Abdo, Reading to Kids' program director and USC grad. "I was bummed to see USC take second place, but the important thing is that we were able to recruit a lot of volunteers that we otherwise may not have had. It was really great for the kids and the schools where we read."

For College Spirit Day, volunteers are asked to wear any clothing that bears the logo of their current school or Alma Mater. The school with the most volunteers wearing colors is named the Reading to Kids College Spirit Day Champion. Not content to take second place this year, USC's Alpha Phi Omega chapter is motivating its member base from Los Angeles all the way to San Diego to drum up readers for this weekend's event.

While the students collected from APO's volunteer push will not all be from USC, the effort alone will help to galvanize the volunteer force. Other colleges and universities with impressive showings in 2003 include Stanford, Cal, Pepperdine University and Loyola Marymount University.

Although Alpha Phi Omega is among a number of USC organizations that will attempt to push the University of Southern California to the top as College Spirit Day Champion in this Saturday's event, it has taken its efforts to help Reading to Kids one step further by holding a week-long Book Drive and Fundraiser. APO has placed a book drop-off in the Volunteer Center from Monday, November 8 Friday, November 12 and will be tabling on Trousdale Wednesday and Thursday to increase awareness of efforts of Reading to Kids and Alpha Phi Omega. "Volunteering with Reading to Kids has become a lasting tradition for APO members," commented Lee Michael Diaz, Alpha Phi Omega President, "This effort simply provides a new opportunity to serve the purpose of this fantastic organization by getting the rest of the campus community involved."

Reading to Kids is a grassroots organization dedicated to inspiring underserved children with a love of reading enriching their lives and opportunities in the future. On the second Saturday of every month, Reading to Kids brings together a diverse group of volunteers from across Los Angeles to have a blast inspiring kids to read.

Volunteers gather at four elementary schools within the LAUSD Esperanza Elementary, Magnolia Elementary and Gratts Elementary in Pico Union, and Noble Elementary in North Hills where they read to kids from kindergarten through fifth grade, take part in a crafts activity, and interact with the kids and with each other.

"Last year's event was so fun the schools really sent out volunteers in force," said Abdo. "If we get the same level of participation this year, it will be a success no matter who wins. But, I still hope it's USC."

For more information about Reading to Kids, or to sign up as a reader, please log on to our web site at

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