SitStayRead will host a kick-off event for its first annual walk-a-thon Thursday in Lakeview. Credit: Provided

CHICAGO — SitStayRead, a nonprofit that organizes literacy programs connecting elementary-school students with assistance dogs, is launching its first Walk-a-Palooza this month.

Through Oct. 27, participants will commit to a walking challenge and set a personalized daily goal for minutes walked and dollars raised. Though the efforts will be concentrated in Chicago, people anywhere can participate in the campaign.

The walk-a-thon will kick off Thursday with a Lakeview meet-up open to walkers and their canine companions. To close the walk-a-thon, SitStayRead will also host an afterparty Oct. 28.

Since its 2003 founding, the organization has supported more than 25,000 students and distributed more than 60,000 books, according to its website. Its year-round programs, which are focused on serving low-income students, brings certified reading assistance dogs and trained volunteers to kindergarten through third-grade classrooms.

Registration is open now, and SitStayRead has already raised nearly $7,000 of its $15,000 goal.

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