In an effort to go beyond angry ranting (see previous post), I have decided to channel my energy into something that will be both positive and impactful. I spent a few days trying to figure out how I could be of most help, and quickly decided to start a local project and to do something that would help children from underserved communities.
Not to be all Whitney, but they really are our future. There are tons of ways to help children, but I kept coming back to books. When I was a child books were my constant companions and my ticket to travel to lands near and far, to live different lives, and to explore my imagination.
Beyond the joy of reading for personal pleasure, reading proficiency has a major impact on performance in all subjects starting as early as the fourth grade. Many states have considered mandatory retention legislation that would require third grade students to repeat third grade if they do not pass the reading portion of state standardized tests. Reading below grade level can create long-lasting barriers to academic achievement.
Reading Partners seeks to assist children that are reading behind grade level by providing one-on-one tutoring through their volunteer training and matching program. You can see more about their mission and strategic plan by clicking the link.
The book drive I am hosting in partnership with Reading Partners will be to benefit students of P.S. 158 in East New York, Brooklyn. This is P.S. 158's first year working with Reading Partners and they have a high need for tutors, and reading material for students to build their home libraries. Our goal is to collect 100 gently used (or new) donated books by February 28.
I will be setting up various donation bins and I can also be contacted directly if you need me to meet you where you are (in the NYC area) and pick up your donations.