October 2018

Live Like Coco, Read Like Coco:

Growing Program Gives 5,000 Books to Local Students

By Linda Kissinger

Thousands of local public school students will get a special gift to celebrate their birthdays this year: a free book of their choosing, courtesy of the Live Like Coco Foundation.

The Birthday Books From Coco literacy program launched in 2015 in memory of Coco Lazenby, a 12-year- old Pajaro Valley School District (PVUSD) student who was killed in a car accident on August 8, 2015.

The program has grown significantly since launching, and now includes 10 public schools in Santa Cruz, Soquel, Aptos and Watsonville, serving nearly 5,000 elementary school students.

“It’s so amazing to see how excited the kids get about selecting their own books,” says Kate Pavao, the executive director of Live Like Coco and Coco’s mom. “Coco was such a bookworm, and it feels so good to have a reason be around kids and books, especially when they connect with a book that I know she would have loved.”

During her life, Coco Lazenby worked in community gardens, participated in beach cleanups, collected jeans for homeless teens, and raised money to support a number of worthy causes. After she was killed at age 12 in a car accident, her parents started Live

Like Coco to keep her spirit alive in the community she loved.

Now, the Live Like Coco Foundation provides thousands of Santa Cruz kids with free books as well as funding scholarships to extra-curricular activities. We also support projects that keep kids healthy, as well as organizations protecting our county’s amazing natural spaces so kids can play and explore together.

All kids should be able to grow up healthy and with the opportunity to pursue their dreams. This is something Coco believed. And now, the Live Like Coco Foundation is dedicated to the pursuit of the same goal. For more information, visit: LiveLikeCoco.com.

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