This Valley Glen couple started a local San Fernando Valley charity in 2013 with a mission of “Seeding Book Deserts.™ In October 2017, they became the Kiwanis Literacy Club of Southern California. This is the first single purpose focused on literacy in the history of Kiwanis International.
What is Kiwanis Literacy Club of Southern California?
We are a local San Fernando Valley charity started with the passion and understanding of the importance of reading and the power of books. In just over three years our small but mighty team has given away over 55,000 new books to kids and delivered over 70 book boxes and portable libraries.
Our 2018 goal is break 100,000 books and with your help we will get there!
Why did you start the Literacy Club?
Why literacy? Because Reading is a Super Power!
• 2/3 of students who cannot read proficiently by the end of 4th grade will end up in jail or on welfare.
• One in four children grow up not knowing how to read.
• Students who don't read proficiently by the 3rd grade are 4 times likelier to drop out of school.
• In low-income communities, books and educational resources are scarce. Kids start school behind their more affluent peers and never catch up. A record number of kids are growing up in need.
• More than half of U.S. public school students live in low-income households. Public education and programs are deeply underfunded.
• 23 states are spending less on education than before the 2008 recession. Without adequate resources, children cannot learn.
• 79% of fourth graders from low-income households do not read proficiently. The impact of this cycle is staggering.
Sources: http://www.begintoread.com; https://www.dosomething.org; https://firstbook.org
Because we need to eliminate book deserts throughout our communities.
Book deserts are where children and families who want and need books, lack access to quality books.
These are prevalent in low-income neighborhoods across the United States. The lack of access to books in many of our neighborhoods not only makes it difficult for parents to model healthy reading habits for their children, but it also creates barriers for children to maintain literacy in the summer when school is out and literacy programs halt. This is known as “the summer slide.”
Children/students need more than just classic books to become inspired lifelong readers – they need books that will pique their interest, books that will leave them wanting more and that reflect their own experiences.
This is why we created our Be A Book Hero™ service project because we believe reading is the best super power. This project is about getting even more books to kids. Focusing on seeding book deserts, we build our Kiwanis Book Boxes “libraries” which help to remove the barriers to accessing books. The more books we can get into our under-served communities, the more children we have a chance to inspire and lock their imaginations through reading. The more children we can inspire to read for fun, the faster we can eliminate our book deserts.
We believe that investing in literacy is truly the best investment we can make in our future.
How can one volunteer and what’s involved?
We are always looking for volunteers to help:
• Label books for distributions
• Help at distributions where we give away books to kids
• Help with book reading events
• Help with building our Kiwanis Book Boxes
• Help with installing/unveiling libraries
What type of donations do you accept?
• New or gently used books which can be placed in one of our over 30 book boxes in the L.A. area
• Materials for building our book boxes
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