A charity that serves vulnerable children nationwide is one that is certainly deserving of praise. And one that revolves around books and literacy? It’s an inspirational venture perfectly suited for some Books Uplift praise.
“Many people underestimate the power of books and literacy,” says Kids Need to Read operations director, Jessica Payne, “but the lack of literacy affects literally almost every aspect of a community.” Seeing the charity’s positive impact first-hand on elevating literacy, Payne moved from volunteer and board member to hands on leader with Kids Need to Read so that she could be a bigger part of the solution.
“Kids Need to Read is a charitable organization that brings books to communities that may not have access to books,” she says. “They support schools, libraries, and service organizations so that in turn they can continue to support and help improve their communities.”
What started as a nonprofit corporation in 2008 by PJ Haarsma, Denise Gary, and Nathan Fillion, the mission of the Kids Need to Read foundation was based on the work of a 2007 project of the same name. With the help of Debbie Brown and Kristen Klein, Gary began laying the groundwork for the creation of a federally recognized charity that would work to improve the lives of children by bringing literacy back to the forefront of the United States education system. Thirteen years later Kids Need to Read continues to serve our nation’s vulnerable children and helps to alleviate book deserts across the country.
There’s statistical proof that reading changes communities for the better. A recent survey found that reading just 15 minutes per day has astonishing positive effects. People reported being 33 percent happier, 69 percent more accomplished and 55 percent more relaxed. With the mission of promoting literacy, Kids Need to Read is having a strong ripple effect in the communities that they serve.
“High literacy leads to citizens who participate in their governing. It lowers the crime rate and raises the education rate, which in turn improves and balances the economy,” says Payne.
“Access to new books and ideas through libraries and schools leads to innovations, which in turn draws people to the community. Reading on a regular basis strengthens your ability to communicate and therefore helps to draw a community together and lessen the cultural, political and economic divides that often rip a community apart.”
Payne stresses how important and valued their donors and volunteers are in improving literacy in their community and worldwide. To help contribute to their effort, financial donors can contribute through the Network for Good and both new and nearly new books can be sent directly to their address. If you’re looking for a more hands-on approach to support their mission, sign up for their volunteer newsletter. They also encourage virtual support through social media on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
According to Payne, everyone can make a positive difference no matter how big or small. Simply supporting their mission by promoting literacy and sharing books with children is integral. But when you teach a child to read, you’re not only helping them and your community but you’re modeling an important skill that can truly change lives.
“Imagine what it would be like if everyone in our country had to take 15 minutes to read every day. Reading might not save the world, but it is a good place to start.”
Image Courtesy of Kids Need to Read