James Patterson Provides Grant to YSPB Summer Camp in Belle Glade

April 21, 2016
James Patterson Provides Grant to YSPB Summer Camp in Belle Glade

Famed Palm Beach County Author James Patterson Provides Grant to Free Summer Camp in Glades

The award winning local children’s non-profit Young Singers of the Palm Beaches is proud to announce that best selling author, philanthropist and Palm Beach County resident James Patterson and The Patterson Family Foundation have awarded a $20,000 grant to provide the funding and for a free Summer Arts & Reading Camp in the Glades region of Palm Beach County. Mr. Patterson is also donating 100 books for Young Singers to utilize for our children.  The Camp is in conjunction with the after-school “Choir in the Glades” free satellite choral instruction program that Young Singers started in 2014 in the underserved Glades region.  The Choir in the Glades began with several dozen elementary school children and is now planning to expand into middle school ages this fall, allowing current members to continue to grow with the Glades community children’s choir as well as attracting new members to the group.  Choir in the Glades is led by music professionals living in the Glades community, and provides vocal instruction, singing and life skills enrichment during after-school hours.

Young Singers of the Palm Beaches is extremely grateful to Mr. Patterson for recognizing and fulfilling this need. Beth Clark, Young Singers’ CEO expressed her gratitude: “This grant will provide the children and families in the Glades region with a free and much needed arts and reading summer camp. We are beyond thrilled that The Patterson Family Foundation will be helping us fulfill the dire need for extracurricular arts programming out in the economically challenged far western area of our county.”

Novelist James B. Patterson's philanthropy supports youth reading and literacy programs all around the United States. He believes that a child's reading success starts at home. He's given away thousands of books, bankrolled and advocated for reading programs, supported libraries and independent bookstores, and funded numerous scholarships.  James Patterson has created more enduring fictional characters than any other novelist writing today with his Alex Cross, Michael Bennett, Women's Murder Club, Private, NYPD Red, Daniel X, Maximum Ride, and Middle School series. As of January 2016, he has sold over 350 million books worldwide and currently holds the Guinness World Record for the most #1 New York Times bestsellers. In addition to writing the thriller novels for which he is best known, he also writes children's, middle-grade, and young-adult fiction and is also the first author to have #1 new titles simultaneously on the New York Times adult and children's bestsellers lists.

The son of an insurance salesman and a schoolteacher, Patterson grew up in Newburgh, New York, and began casually writing at the age of nineteen. In 1969, he graduated from Manhattan College. He was given a full ride to Vanderbilt University's graduate program in English but dropped out after a year, knowing that he wouldn't be able to continue reading and writing for pleasure if he became a college professor.  Instead, he moved to New York to become a junior copywriter for the advertising agency J. Walter Thompson, eventually becoming CEO of its North American company.

In 1976, while still working for J. Walter Thompson, Patterson published his first novel, The Thomas Berryman Number, with Little, Brown and Company. After being turned down by thirty-one publishers, it won the Edgar Award for Best First Novel. Patterson's 1993 novel, Along Came a Spider, his first novel to feature Alex Cross, was also his first New York Times bestseller in fiction. In 2001, Morgan Freeman starred as Alex Cross in a film adaptation of Along Came a Spider, and Tyler Perry also played the character in the 2012 film Alex Cross. A film adaptation of Patterson's middle-grade novel Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life will be released in theaters in October 2016.

For his initiatives to help kids become passionate readers and for his philanthropic efforts, Patterson was awarded the National Book Foundation's 2015 Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community. James Patterson has donated more than one million books to students, emphasizing some of the most under-resourced schools and youth programs in the country. In 2015, Patterson donated $1.75 million to public school libraries throughout the United States, $1 million to independent bookstores, and a further $250,000 in holiday bonuses to individual bookstore employees. He also gave $1 million to independent bookstores in 2014. Patterson has recently donated over $26 million to his and his wife's alma maters—the University of Wisconsin, Vanderbilt University, and Manhattan College—and he has established over four hundred Teacher Education Scholarships at twenty-four colleges and universities throughout the country. Patterson has also donated over 650,000 books to U.S. soldiers at home and overseas.

Patterson has also founded ReadKiddoRead.com, a website designed to help parents, teachers, and librarians ignite a new generation's excitement for reading. Awarded the National Book Foundation's Innovations in Reading Prize and the American Library Association's Great Websites for Kids, the site features thoughtful book reviews from a variety of genres and age ranges, a large and lively Facebook community, and contributions from other authors.

Mr. Patterson's awards for adult and children's literature include the Edgar Award, the International Thriller of the Year Award, and the Children's Choice Award for Author of the Year. He lives in Palm Beach with his wife, Sue, and his son, Jack. For more information visit www.jamespatterson.com

Young Singers of the Palm Beaches, based at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach, is in its 14th season as Palm Beach County's premiere community children's chorus. They serve over 350 singers in their six core choirs, as well as over a thousand children in their after-school and summer outreach programs, like Choir in the Glades. Partnering with other community organizations enables Young Singers to fulfill their mission: “building life skills through music.”  For more information, visit http://www.yspb.org or call (561) 659-2332.

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