Cary, NC—Lucy Daniels Center announces attendance and fundraising totals for Bookmarked! 2012, the Center’s third annual community festival celebrating the emotional health benefits of reading with children, held in venues across Wake County April 27-May 6.

The ten-day festival, featuring the fun of book readings by local celebrity-heroes, a family concert, and a book fair with titles by bestselling children’s author Audrey Penn (The Kissing HandMystery at Blackbeard’s Cove), was attended by more than 1,000 Triangle-area children and their families. Most events were free and open to the public.

Started in 2010 as a community celebration of the Center’s primary prevention and outreach program, Lucy’s Book Club, Bookmarked! also increases funding for the Center’s Family Support Fund, which helps offset the cost to families of their children’s mental health services provided by the Center. Through the generosity of corporate, foundation, and individuals donors—including Event Sponsor Wells Fargo—this year’s Bookmarked!festival raised more than $45,000.

“We have the best supporters, period,” said Clarenda Stanley, the Center’s director of development. “They continue to amaze with their unwavering commitment to the social and emotional well-being and development of young children. Their support will help ensure that we are able to serve more families even as the need continues to grow.”

As Bookmarked! 2012’s featured author, Ms. Penn made multiple public appearances, including a pirate-themed reading at the N.C. Museum of History, and became the third recipient of the Lucy Daniels Award, given in recognition of an author’s outstanding body of work that supports children’s healthy social and emotional development.

Raleigh’s Deputy Fire Marshall Ronald Campbell, WRAL-TV anchor Gerald Owens, and The Umstead Hotel and Spa’s pastry chef Daniel Benjamin also shared Lucy’s Book Club titles at locations including Barnes and Noble Booksellers, Quail Ridge Books & Music, and branches of the Wake County Public Library. A new partnership with local Boys & Girls Clubs and Wake County’s Communities in Schools program brought readers such as Raleigh City Council member Mary Ann Baldwin, Blake Burney (aka DJ Triple B), and members of N.C. State’s color guard to traditionally underserved child care and after-school care centers.

Bookmarked! 2012 committee member Carolyn Merrifield, N.C. regional programs director for school-readiness program Reach Out and Read, noted that organizers worked hard to bring inspiring figures to these program sites.

“The stories we shared with these young readers inspire them not only to explore the depths of their imaginations but also to recognize how they can become the community leaders and role models of the future,” Merrifield said. 

The festival’s finale, the Family Fun Concert, was held May 5 at The Commons at North Hills. Headliners Sandbox performed two sets of family-friendly songs. Readers included Ms. Penn, Carolina Ballet’s Elice McKinley, and Theatre in the Park’s Ira David Wood III.

Learn more about the award-winning child mental health services provided by the Lucy Daniels Center at www.lucydanielscenter.org. Learn about Lucy’s Book Club and enjoy photos and video from Bookmarked! 2012at www.lucysbookclub.org.

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The Lucy Daniels Center, formerly the Lucy Daniels Center for Early Childhood, is a nationally recognized model for childhood mental health education and services. The Center is the largest and most comprehensive non-profit focused on providing mental health services to young children and their families in the Triangle and is conveniently located at 9003 Weston Parkway, Cary, NC 27513. For more information visit www.lucydanielscenter.org

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