Make a Difference
When things shut down, it is time to open ourselves up to new possibilities. All around the world, people are facing the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of us are grateful for our brave health care workers as well as our grocery store clerks. I am reminded of Mister Rogers’ wisdom to look for the helpers during a crisis. It helps me find comfort in our unknown futures.
I am a helper at a school that has closed for the rest of the school year. I am grieving the loss of working with kids along with other educators, parents, and students. Through my waves of sadness and anger, my heart began guiding me in a new direction.
“How can I get books into students’ hands while they are home?” was the question I began to ask myself as I sat in my home office of Samara Books, with hundred of great kids’ books sitting on bookshelves. I could see the opportunity gaps growing daily between students who have technology access and students who don’t. Equity often drives my passion in education. I made a decision to make a difference and I developed the Sponsor a Reader program.
Sponsor a Reader is a program that places quality children’s books in the hands of kids in need. According to the Children’s Literacy Foundation, 61% of low income families have no children books at home. Samara Books’ Sponsor a Reader program allows interested sponsors purchase books bundles for young readers. Each book bundle consists of three (3) children’s books plus fun literacy tools to engage developing readers. Once a sponsor adopts a reader, teachers select three books from the Samara Book Collections based on the reader’s grade level. Then, these new books are bundled with fun literacy tools, and sent directly to the homes of the adopted readers.
Sponsorships of readers can be open or closed. An open sponsorship allows the sponsor to create a personal note to their adopted reader. A closed sponsorship is when no personal information is shared between the adopted reader and their sponsor. People value personal connections and personal touches are added to each adoption while respecting the privacy of the families.
I encourage you to be open to new possibilities during this unimaginable time. Listen to your heart and help others. Develop a new normal. Pivot your life into a new direction with new ways to find happiness. Sponsor a reader and make a difference!