Robert Nickels organized the Bibb County Chapter of Rolling Reader, a national organization designed to encourage the love of reading and to improve the reading skills of students. Under his direction, the chapter has grown from "no" readers in April of 1997 to 185+ readers currently.
There is a critical need for the improvement of reading skills in Bibb County's elementary-aged children. Twenty of the 30 Bibb County elementary schools are below the national median in 3rd grade reading scores; 17 of the 30 Bibb County elementary schools are below national median in 5th grade reading scores.
In his leadership role, Nickels single-handedly recruited the 22 local Rolling Reader sites, organized speaking engagements with various local clubs in search of readers and funds, organized and played the major role in each book give-away, organized the paperwork flow for the local chapter and developed program materials used in recruiting and fundraising tasks.
Nickels reads weekly to three classrooms of children at Bruce Elementary School in Bibb County. He personally welcomes and processes each new volunteer reader as well as develops new reading sites and assists with fund raising. He has contributed more than $1,400 of his funds to underwrite the cost of postage and supplies to keep the program moving. As results, this program has touched 5,143 students and a total of 10,106 books have been distributed at a value exceeding $130,000.