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Videos: Why Northern Kentucky & Cincinnati Leaders Are Taking Pies to the Face

During the NKY Excellence in Education Education celebration on March 26, University of Cincinnati President Santa Ono and C-Forward President Brent Cooper, the co-chairs of Greater Cincinnati’s Read On campaign, took the stage to announce a new component to their campaign called “Read Or Pie”.  

Mirroring the wildly successul Ice Bucket Challenge that raised money for ALS Disease, the Read Or Pie campaign is designed to raise awareness and funds to increase volunteers for reading programs.

“Before the 3rd grade kids are learning to read, but after the 3rd grade they are reading to learn. Our goal is to get all kids reading on grade level by the 3rd grade.” said Ono.  “In order to accomplish that goal, we need everyone to contribute in some way. Make a donation, become a tutor, mentor, One-to-One Reader, “Be the Change” volunteer, or participate in Read Aloud.  Or, take a pie in the face and help spread the word.”

In less than a week, community leaders from all over the region have gotten into the act. 

Kenton County Judge-Executive Kris Knochelmann, Thomas More College President Dave Armstrong, University of Cincinnati Director of Athletics Mike Bohn, REDI’s Johnna Reeder, The Strive Partnership’s Greg Landsman, Crossroads Senior Pastor Brian Tome, and last year’s NKY Chamber Board Chair and President of Multi-Craft Debbie Simpson and current Chairman Steve Harper, just to name a few. 

“It is really starting to catch on.  The fact that so many are stepping up is, well, sweet!,” Cooper said, laughing. “But seriously, at the end of the day, if we can get more people volunteering and/or supporting Read On in some way, we will be that much closer to getting all kids reading on grade level by the third grade.  And if that happens, we all win.”

When asked if he thought that so many would embrace it so quickly Cooper responded, “I did. That is who we are in Greater Cincinnati/NKY.  I realize this kind of thing isn’t for everyone, but I had no doubt that people in our community care about early childhood education, understand the long term value, and want to help make a difference.”

The River City News will be sharing some of the #ReadOrPie submissions over the coming weeks and months. Here are some favorites from this week:

UC President Santa Ono & C-Forward President Brent Cooper

Kenton County Judge-Executive Kris Knochelmann

Thomas More College President David Armstrong

Crossroads Pastor Brian Tome

University of Cincinnati Athletic Director Mike Bohn

Boone County Library (in a very polite video!)

Campbell County Library Executive Director J.C. Morgan

Kenton County Library Executive Director Dave Schroeder

-Staff report

Photo: Kenton County Judge-Executive Kris Knochelmann