Disney is a family company – so it’s no surprise that we’re committed to strengthening communities, and one of those is our ongoing commitment to military and veteran families. Recently, we began teaming up with Blue Star Families – a nonprofit for and by military families – to provide support to their Books on Bases events that encourage reading among military children.
Just this past weekend, more than 250 Army and Marine Corps family members from Joint Base Fort Myer-Henderson Hall outside of Washington, DC received free books provided by Disney through First Book. In addition to group readings and books, families participated in craft activities with Disney VoluntEARS and even got a surprise visit by Mickey Mouse himself!
Disney’s donation to the program – totaling 30,000 books – will help military parents make reading a daily activity and foster creativity in kids, ultimately impacting tens of thousands of lives. Blue Star Families created the program after a study showed that military children face unique literacy challenges as a direct result of their parents’ periodic deployments, long separations and frequent school changes.
The donation comes just months after we announced that Heroes Work Here – an initiative to hire, train and support returning veterans – would expand. The original goal of the program was to provide at least 1,000 jobs and career opportunities to returning U.S. veterans over three years. In March 2013, Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger spoke to the success of those efforts and pledged to hire an additional 1,000 veterans over the next two years. Another important part of the initiative is that Disney provides training, advice and other support services to veterans. You can learn more here.
Books on Bases and Heroes Work Here are just two of the many ways we’ve shown appreciation for the U.S. Armed Forces over the past 90 years. From military-family discounts at Disney theme parks to Disney VoluntEARS service projects, it’s rewarding to work for a company that truly cares about our country’s heroes.
Books on Bases has touched more than 150,000 lives, and we hope to see the four-year-old program continue grow!