As pillar in our community, Toyota celebrates its 30th year by giving away a total of $30,000.00 to many worthy causes. Employees nominated charities they cared about to receive a $3,000.00 gift in support of their initiatives. Andrea Tinning, a mother of two, and wife of a teacher recommended Strong Start because she understands how important it is for children to learn to read at a young age.

In her application to Toyota, she said: “The gift of reading is truly a lasting gift given to a child, which they can enjoy across their lifespan. It is a tool which helps unlock their potential, as they dream bigger, and feel they can do anything they set their mind to. Lucky for us, our children have shown themselves to be strong readers, but according to research, one in four Canadian children struggle in acquiring this essential life skill. This is where Strong Start and its early literacy programs fit into our community. They help children become successful learners, by reaching them early in their development before they fall behind, get discouraged and disengage from school.”

On August 25, 2016, we welcomed Andrea to our office where we were able to give her a tour of our warehouse, and show her some of the games and activities used in our programs. Toyota’s gift will be used to support the 2016-2017 Letters, Sounds and Words program in schools across Waterloo Region. We were honoured to receive Andrea’s nomination and thank her kindly for being a true literacy champion.

On behalf of all of us at Strong Start, and the children and families we serve, we extend our sincere appreciation to Andrea, and Toyota’s donation selection committee for choosing to help more children learn to read. Thirty years is an amazing milestone to celebrate, and we say congratulations to all Toyota employees on their hard work and commitment.

Above photo: Andrea Tinning, Shift Team Leader, West Paint-Sealer/Slat Line at Toyota Motor Manufacturing (centre) presents a cheque for $3,000.00 to Leslie Tinning, Program Co-ordinator of the Letters, Sounds and Words program (left), Machelle Denison, Executive Director (centre), and Christina Proctor, Development Co-ordinator (right) at Strong Start’s office in Kitchener.