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Fundraiser Randy Fields (from left), Brandon and Ben Roberts,4, Greg McDowell, Mike Piotrowski, Mel Watson, Ricky Gunn and Andrew Mair (front) pose with their classic cars from the early 1950s to 1975. The group belongs to the Lead Kings, a club that draws its members from around Ontario. They are hosting a literacy fundraiser called Rodding for Reading at the Portuguese Club of Cambridge on Sat. July 7 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. David Bebee/Record staff

Rodding for Reading in The Waterloo Region Record

CAMBRIDGE — They may look tough driving their souped-up classic cars but in truth, the members of the Lead Kings car club have big hearts.

For the second year in a row, the Lead Kings have organized a fundraiser — called Rodding for Reading — to support the Literacy Group of Waterloo Region. The July 7 event will show off their favourite vehicles while raising awareness about adult literacy. “Literacy affects everybody,” said Brandon Roberts, club president. The Lead Kings formed only four years ago and wanted to find a way to give back to the community. In hearing about the many resources the Literacy Group provides, the Lead Kings decided to support their cause. Over 350 people across the region access the Literacy Group to improve their literacy and math skills for greater employment opportunities and a better quality of life.

From reading a watch to plan your daily commute to menus in restaurants or using a computer at work, the group’s program co-ordinator Heather Lee noted how strong literacy skills are needed throughout the day. By offering tutors and peer support, the Literacy Group takes away the challenge of reading in daily activities for their students. Having to admit difficulties with reading or writing is often the biggest hurdle for adults. “People who struggle with literacy are really good at hiding it,” said Lee. “That’s one thing we want to help, to help people see it’s OK to come in and walk through our doors for help because you’re not alone.” Because the majority of the population doesn’t struggle with literacy skills, Lee said it’s a problem that many people aren’t even aware of.

Until the Lead Kings discovered the Literacy Group and the challenges their students have struggled with, Roberts said he was among those who took literacy skills for granted.“As a club, we were shocked. If you can read, you don’t think about that sort of thing,” he said. With several of the club members, including Roberts, having young children, the influence of parents with weak literacy skills on the next generation was a concern that hit close to home. “Think about the cycle, if parents can’t read, the kids might have problems,” said Roberts. Kids were also considered in planning the event and the Lead Kings have made sure that there will be more to do than just look at cars and motorcycles.

Renowned escape artist Scott Hammell will be performing during the event, food will be provided by Ali’s Bar and Grill and kids can make crafts with supplies and projects lead by Michaels store. In the spirit of promoting literacy, book vendors will also be set up. “I got to buy enough books at this one show to last me a year,” said Mel Watson, a Lead Kings member, who was part last year’s Rodding for Reading event. Raffles will also be taking place to help fundraise for the Literacy Group that has struggled financially recently and will be closed for the month of August to cut costs.The many aspects of Rodding for Reading make it a family-friendly event to appeal to all interest and ages.“We wanted to make it entertaining, fun and educational,” said Roberts.

Rodding for Reading will be held at the Portuguese Club of Cambridge, located at 870 Townline Road, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on July 7.

Email: lgivetash@therecord.com. Retrieved from The Waterloo Region Record