Sen. Kelly Welcomes “Tis the Season to be Reading” Tour to Stratford YMCA

December 20, 2021

The 10th annual CT Parents Union Parent Express “Tis the Season to be Reading” float tour made a stop at the Stratford YMCA on Wednesday to give away books, hats and gloves to children as part of their 10 city tour to promote literacy and holiday cheer.


Senator Kevin Kelly (R-Stratford) joined children at the YMCA to welcome the float, run by volunteers at the Connecticut Parents Union, and help engage local children in a conversation on the importance of reading and empowerment.


Ten years ago, Gwen Samuel, founder of the Connecticut Parents Union, started the statewide parent express bus tour, which has converted into a float tour during the pandemic. Each December, the Parent Express visits 10 Connecticut cities for three days, giving away 1,000 books as well hats and gloves. Volunteers lead discussions with local children on issues such as reading, civic engagement, and even handwashing.


“I am amazed by the great work done by Gwen and her team of volunteers across the state to reach kids in our communities, empower them, bring some holiday cheer into their lives, and make sure every child has a book to take home to read and warm winter gear to wear,” said Sen. Kelly. “I want to thank the team for bringing their float to the children of Stratford and our wonderful local YMCA for welcoming them and sharing this experience with our kids.”


As part of the Stratford visit, Sen. Kelly helped teach a group of children how to tie a tie and spoke about the importance of hard work and literacy.


The tour highlights literacy at all ages and stages of life, safe great schools and quality educational opportunities for all, the military and their families, student-centered learning, mental health, community empowerment and civic engagement through an informed and engaged citizenry.


“Every child, regardless of race, zip-code or income level, should be free to learn, explore self-governing opportunities, grow and succeed thus ensuring they can compete both locally and globally.  After all, they are our future workforce! This event is about making reading fun and reaching as many children and families as we can during the holiday season,” said Gwen Samuel.


“I want to thank Gwen for all her hard work organizing this event across our state and also to her team of volunteers that came to Stratford including Jazzniqua Marrow 7th grade, Leric Green 4th grade, Kerell Marrow 9th grade, Shkeia Dickerson (mom), Valerie Dickerson (grandma), and of course Olaf and Dora the Explorer for their guest appearances!” added Sen. Kelly.

Kelly 2021-12-15 Parent Express Stratford YMCA (51 of 52)