In 1997, then police officer, Julia Burney (Witherspoon), responded to a burglary call that led her to a warehouse full of children's books. Julia realized these books should be in the hands of the disadvantaged children she served every day.
The first batch of books was distributed from the trunks of police cars. Within weeks, children were gathering around officers who often stopped to read a colorful book or two. What Julia discovered, was a unique way to respond to children in need; children who lacked the essential tools for successful learning.
Before becoming a Racine Police Officer, Julia worked for Racine Unified School District as a teacher's assistant and school worker. She also worked for Goodwill Industries Future Bound Program as both a case manager and she eventually became program supervisor.
Cops 'N Kids assembles community members to share the responsibility of social and educational development, ensuring that all children have the opportunity to explore their full potential.
This simple and effective plan grew into the Cops 'N Kids Reading Center. There are now over 115 Cops 'N Kids Reading Centers throughout the United States as well as Australia, South Africa, Venezuela, and the Philippines.
Julia has been recognized by countless organizations, including being named "Person of the Year" by ABC World News Tonight with Charles Gibson, she was featured in Oprah's Angel Network, as well as having received the "Hometown Hero Award" by the Wisconsin State Assembly.
In 2002, Cops 'N Kids started the first annual holiday book giveaway. On Saturday, December 21st, the 17th Annual Holiday Book Giveaway will be held at Festival Hall in Racine from 9-11am
New and gently used books and all other donations may be sent to:
Cops 'N Kids Reading Center
800 Villa Street
Racine, WI 53403
Becky St. Martin (262) 939-0107
More information about the event can be found: Click