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Michigan Education Trust Partners with WSYM-TV, Scripps Howard Fund to Deliver Free Books to Elementary School Students

March 8, 2024

WSYM-TV Reporter Tianna Jenkins shares a book with students during a "read-along."

In keeping with its mission to help prepare children for their educational futures, the Michigan Education Trust (MET) joined WYSM-TV (Lansing) and the Scripps Howard Fund this past Monday (3/4) in delivering free books to a Lansing elementary school.

The books were delivered during a book fair at Vivian Riddle Elementary School, 221 Huron St., in Lansing, as part of a book donation effort that began last fall. The school currently also houses students from Willow Elementary while a new school is under construction.

At the book fair, which coincided with National Reading Month in March, each student received five free books from the Scripps Howard Fund and its partnership with MET and WYSM.  Each of the employees at FOX 47 has helped to make donations to buy all of this and it's really crazy and a point of pride for all of us," said station manager Gary Baxter.

MET Marketing Manager Heather Barthelmes, who attended the event with MET’s mascot, Whoodini, congratulated the Scripps Howard Fund for its work and for reaching a milestone last year in its “If you give a child a book” campaign by distributing its 1 millionth book.

“Michigan Education Trust has been a proud sponsor of this campaign with WYSM and Scripps Howard,” Barthelmes said. “We look forward to helping the Scripps Howard Fund team lean into distributing another million books moving forward.”

MET Deputy Director Megan Patino called the partnership a “perfect pairing with MET’s underlying mission, which is to prepare children for their future educational needs.”

“Having books on the shelves in your home lays the groundwork for your child’s educational future in the same way that saving money for school does,” Patino said.

For 35 years, MET has been providing families peace of mind as they work, plan and save to help provide their children with a debt-free start to pursue their dreams by letting people purchase future educational needs at today’s prices.

MET, the nation’s first 529 prepaid tuition plan, has helped tens of thousands of families since 1988 with an affordable way to save for their education by prepurchasing tomorrow’s tuition at today’s rates. Signed into law in December 1986, it was the first prepaid tuition program in the nation.

Patino noted that anyone can contribute to a child’s tuition savings plan, including grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends and others. Once a plan is opened, contributions can be as low as $25.

“MET has many flexible options and — just like with books — there is a MET plan for everyone,” Patino said. “We encourage all Michiganders to open a book and open a MET account to unlock the potential of our children now and throughout their lives.”

Watch WSYM-TV's recap of the event here:

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