11/24/10 As the Colts prepare for an important AFC matchup on Sunday Night Football against the San Diego Chargers, they are asking their fans to help them reach an important milestone for Indiana’s foster youth. At the game, the Colts, Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS) and Cargo Services will be hosting a pre-game book drive for their “Books for Youth” program in hopes of reaching the program goal of  half a million books by halftime.

Colts fans are invited to join this effort by donating new or gently used books before they head into the stadium on Sunday. Beginning at 6 p.m., volunteers will be collecting books at the Community Collection Stations, presented by Toyota, located outside each Lucas Oil Stadium Gate. Each fan who donates will receive a special edition Colts bookmark, compliments of Cargo Services. Cash donations will also be accepted.

The “Books for Youth” program was launched in 2006 through a partnership between the Indianapolis Colts and DCS. The initiative was born after Steve Pemberton, a former foster child and now the Executive Vice President of  Diversity at Monster.com, shared his story of personal triumph over situational tragedy and credits a gift from a stranger – a box of books –  as the motivation for him to overcome challenges and provide hope for his future. After hearing this story, James Payne, then Juvenile Court Judge and now Director of the Indiana Department of Child Services, made a commitment – a commitment that every foster child in the State of Indiana would receive this same gift. 

Through the support of the Indianapolis Colts and Cargo Services, DCS has collected more than 450,000 books and has distributed more than 2,000 backpacks filled with 25 age-appropriate books to Indiana Foster Youth. With the help of donations from Sunday’s collection, the Colts, DCS and Cargo Services are hoping to reach 500,000 books.

Individuals attending Sunday’s game can also support Books for Youth by purchasing a special edition Colts “BLUE” backpack at the Colts Pro Shop or online at www.coltsproshop.com. For each backpack that’s purchased, the Colts will donate one filled with books to an Indiana Foster Youth. Visit www.colts.com/booksforyouth to learn more about the “Books for Youth” program.