Emerging Readers

The Emerging Readers program, launched by the Emerging Leaders, provides the opportunity to make a positive impact in the life of a local child by sharing the joy of reading.

The Opportunity

  • Participate in a book donation four times a year
    • October 21, as school begins.
    • December 9, around the holidays.
    • February 10, heading into spring time.
    • April 21, before school lets out to help combat summer slide. 
  • Get matched with a family or a child at one of our United Way partner agencies
  • Volunteers choose age-appropriate, new or gently-used reading materials for their child or family.
  • First names and children’s ages are the only information exchanged.
  • Volunteers are encouraged to prepare a reading package for the partner family. Suggestions include sending hand-written notes of encouragement or book reviews to accompany their reading selections.

Registration is now closed, and we are at capacity for the 2016-2017 school year. Please consider volunteering with us next year!


In 2015, 242 local children were matched with 150 United Way donors. Children receiving books were between the ages of 2-13 and participate in youth programming at the following agency program partner agencies: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Milwaukee, Boys and Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee, COA Youth & Family Centers, Parents Place and the United Community Center.

Watch a slideshow of young readers receiving their books.


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 Who can participate?

Anyone interested in donating books to a child(ren). Sign up as individual and/or provide books as a family!

 How many books do I provide?

We typically recommend 2-3 books per child per book donation.

 What information do I receive?

First names and children’s ages are the only information exchanged. Children’s interests are requested, you may also receive this information.

 Am I matched with the same child throughout the year?


 Do I need to sign-up every year or am I automatically registered?

You will need to register each year. Registration begins in July and runs through October until all agency participants are matched.

 Who receives the books?

We work with United Way Partner Agencies to manage this program and ensure that the child signed up receives the books donated by their volunteer.

 What are the book drop-off dates?

Book donations take place four times throughout the school year.

  • October, as school begins.
  • December, over the holidays.
  • February, heading into spring time.
  • April, before school lets out to help combat summer slide. 

Contact Callai Reed via email or at 414.263.8320 with any questions.

© 2016 United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County