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Former SC Gov. Nikki Haley plans to distribute 12,000 books to rural schools this summer

Nikki Haley, SC State University, 2024 Media Gaggle

Nikki Haley, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and former South Carolina governor, takes a question from a reporter following a tour of S.C. State University. A literacy effort promoted by Haley, "My First Library," plans to help over 1,250 students preparing to enter first grade. Colin Demarest/Staff

A literacy effort pushed by former Gov. Nikki Haley would put 12,000 books into the hands of schoolchildren in rural parts of the Palmetto State this summer.

In 2011, Haley, started the O6 Foundation, which aims to provide funding for rural and underperforming schools across the state.

A new program kicking off this month called "My First Library" plans to help over 1,250 students preparing to enter first grade. It would enable them to build their own personal collection of reading material at home. 

“Students who can’t read by the third grade are four times more likely to drop out of school," Haley said in a statement. "That’s why these libraries are so important. We’re telling these kids they matter, we’ve got their back and we are going to make sure they have the tools they need to succeed.” 

The organization plans to hold book fairs in eight school districts across Bamberg, Barnwell, Florence, Kershaw, Marion, Richland and Union counties.

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They will all help schools in areas that have been deemed high poverty by the S.C. Department of Education.

“There is nothing more powerful than instilling the love of reading in a young child,” said Nicki Hood, executive director of the O6 Foundation.

To learn more or donate visit: www.originalsixfoundation.org. 

Haley, who served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under former President Donald Trump, has stepped somewhat out of the spotlight since the start of 2021. 

Earlier this month, she said she won’t run for president in 2024 if her former boss seeks to reclaim the office.

Reach Thomas Novelly at 843-937-5713. Follow him @TomNovelly on Twitter. 

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