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Saturday, October 08, 2011
Spotlight: Literacy Kansas City
My ability to read is something that I take for granted. I read all the time, books yes, but also food boxes, medication labels, job applications, road signs, greeting cards, e-mails and texts from friends, family and co-workers. There is almost no part of my life that doesn't involve reading in some way. I had wonderful parents who fostered this ability in me at an early age, not everyone is given this same opportunity. But they should be.
Literacy Kansas City states on their website that 1 in 5 adults in the United States are functionally illiterate.
Literacy Kansas City's mission is to advance literacy among area adults through direct services, advocacy and collaboration. Our vision is literacy for all.
The Need for Literacy
Approximately 225,000 adults in the Kansas City area function at the lowest literacy level. Illiteracy is closely linked to poverty, unemployment and health issues. Children of low literate parents face a high risk of growing up illiterate. Helping an adult learn to read can improve the situation of an entire family. Most adult learners seek our help so they can participate in their children's learning, obtain a GED or diploma, or improve their job skills so they can better support their families. At any time, there are around 30 students on our waiting list.
Literacy Kansas City certifies volunteers as tutors and matches them with adult learners from across the Kansas City metropolitan area who want to improve their literacy skills. Founded in 1985, Literacy Kansas City is an accredited affiliate of ProLiteracy America, the U.S. program division of ProLiteracy Worldwide.
I can't think of a better, lasting gift to give someone than the ability to read. I've discovered the joy of online read-a-thon's, where a group of people sign up on the host's blog and then read and blog about their progress, visit each other and comment etc. It's a lot of fun! So far these experiences have not included an organized literacy donation process, as they are generally bringing together people from different parts of the world and everyone would have a different charity focus, so it would be difficult. It is absolutely encouraged to do so however, to the charity of your choice. I have two read-a-thon's that I'm participating in during October, one right now, The Frightful Fall Read-a-thon, and then a little later in the month Dewey's 24 hour read-a-thon. Since October looks to hopefully be a successful reading month for me, I'd like to pledge to donate $3 for each full length book (including audios), and $1.50 for each short story that I finish during the month. Things are starting off pretty good so far, I've already finished 4 books in October and it's only the first full week, much better than last month where I only finished 3 during all of September!
I encourage everyone who enjoys reading to find out if their area has a program like Literacy Kansas City that they can donate to or volunteer in, and do something fun like a read-a-thon, come up with a fun way to measure what you should donate, a penny a page, anything, and help pass along this gift to others!