ORLANDO, Fla - In April, The Early Learning Coalition of Orange County (ELCOC) and Orlando Police Department (OPD) launched a new initiative to promote literacy called “Books and Badges”. Each month, a uniformed officer visits an Orange County early childhood education program to share books with children about safety and community.
“The idea is simple,” said Karen Willis, CEO of the Early Learning Coalition of Orange County. “It is a shared experience to promote a love of reading and build positive relationships between our youngest citizens and law enforcement.”
There are more than 30 officers who enlisted in the “Books and Badges” initiative to read to children at Orlando early education centers. OPD Chief John Mina, kicked off the “Books and Badges” program reading to children at Early Education Station located on Mercy Drive.
“Reading to young children is not only one of the best activities to stimulate language, but it is also fun,” said Orlando Police Department Chief, John Mina. “Our officers will have a great time not only sharing their love of reading, but also their service.”
The ELCOC is excited to pilot this program with the Orlando Police Department and hopes to expand “Books and Badges” to recruit additional first-responders in our local community.