What is the I Need a Hug Program?
The I Need a Hug program was developed in 2003 by the United Way Regional Volunteer Center in partnership with the Valparaiso Softball Team. Throughout the year, new, small stuffed animals are collected by businesses, groups, churches, book clubs, boards, and schools as well as local campus wide drives. These animals are given to the Guidance Counselors in our elementary schools to be used as counseling tools.
Who does it help?
I Need a Hug is currently in 124 classrooms throughout Northwest Indiana and provides a way for counselors and teachers to comfort children in crisis.
What is Reading Buddies?
Reading Buddies, part of the I Need a Hug program, is a literacy program that provides 2nd graders with a “buddy” that they read aloud to each day for 15 minutes. The children are tested at the beginning of the year, prior to introducing the “reading buddy” and then again, at the end of the year. The reading scores in participating schools have increased significantly with this program.
We would like to collect 8,000 new stuffed animals (approximately 12”- 16” tall)
What can you do to help?
Host a drive at your company, church, or organization.
Can I just give money?
For only $5.00, you can put a reading buddy in the lap of a second grader. Monetary donations are welcomed which assists us in buying stuffed animals in bulk for a reduced price. Make checks payable to the United Way of Porter County with I Need a Hug on the memo line.
Recognition for Your Organization:
Once your group completes a drive, you will receive recognition through our website, electronic newsletter and social media outlets.
Questions? Ready to host a drive?
Fill out the Host a Drive Flyer and send it back! You can also contact Mackenna Dickt, Porter Co. Volunteer Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Chris Esparza, Lake Co. Volunteer Coordinator at email@example.com.