Reading program gets a boost from Tampa Bay Lightning

- It started as a simple concept between two Tampa fifth-graders.

Best friends Vance Tomasi and Chase Hartman created Read Repeat, which collects gently-used books to donate to students in need.

In nearly two years, they've exceeded even their own expectations, donating more than 75,000 books.

Now, the boys are distributing thousands of new books to summer camps in Hillsborough County, thanks to a partnership with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

"Vance applied for the Lightning Community Hero of Tomorrow award," said Hartman.

Tomasi explained, "It gives you a $25,000 scholarship and $25,000 to donate to any nonprofit of your choice."

"We have about 25,000 books, giving them to 5,000 kids in 36 different locations," Hartman added.

Students benefiting from Read Repeat will get a bag and up to five books to keep.

"They're like, 'Whoa, books!' I think that's really good for them that they're excited about reading," said Hartman.

"It makes me kind of feel like a role model," said Tomasi. 

For more information about Read Repeat, visit http://www.readrepeat.org/.

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