Best Friends in Pinellas County Create Reading Program for Students

When it comes to enhancing students’ reading skills, these two best friends are professionals at it.

Todd Hoover and Alonzo Sullivan are the creators of their program called First 25. According to BayNews9, this is a non-profit literacy program in Pinellas County which focuses on helping underprivileged young students in their reading abilities.

Hoover is an account representative and a Stetson Law School student. He and Sullivan met about 30 years ago and today, they are benefiting students throughout the St. Petersburg and Pinellas County area.

“What we try to do with the kids is get them excited,” Hoover said. “Because, once you get a kid excited, they’ll do anything for you.”

Hoover is the author of several children’s and young adult novels, and said that First 25 was started three years ago to promote “racial literacy equality.”

Sullivan, who has lived in Pinellas County his whole life, spoke about the enjoyment he gets from helping these children.

“You know what the thing about it is, when you see the enthusiasm in the kid’s eyes. When they read and they’re hanging out with us and we’re pumping them up and making them feel like we care about them. That’s all it takes,” Sullivan said.

The pilot program is being held at John Hopkins Middle School in St. Petersburg. Hoover explains how this program can better these children for their futures.

“Make kids feel good about themselves, get them excited about the future, and teach them to read so they have confidence so in the future, they can be successful,” Hoover said.