A couple weeks ago I woke up from a rather interesting dream. In this dream, my intern task was to start a book collection to bring books to Guatemala on our upcoming Learning Journey. I researched proper book drop-off locations, I talked to businesses, and I searched the classifieds. By the end of my dream, Reading Village collected three full boxes of books. When I woke up, I had to tell my supervisor about this great new opportunity we should be pursuing.
With a quick response, Kassia, our Director of Communications & Development, let me down softly. She informed me that my dream is, in fact, already a reality. Reading Village already has a Book Bank program, where we collect books several different ways. First we have individuals collecting books for us all around the world. Second, we have teachers purchase books at a reduced rate through Scholastic points. And finally, we visit closing libraries, bookstores, and schools to secure affordable Spanish language books that can be reused in Guatemala.
Reading Village was originally founded to address the primary barrier to literacy: access to books. At the beginning, we collected and distributed books to other schools, library’s, and day cares in Guatemala. Through these various distribution channels and partnerships with local organizations, our Book Bank program has benefited more than 10,000 children in rural Guatemala!
Now, as we have grown over the years, we use these books for our own Leaders & Readers program and distribute the books to our teens so that they have material to read to younger kids. As part of their scholarship program, each of our teens is asked to read to 60 kids a week. Some decide to read in classrooms in schools, while others read in the new library that we just opened! We have teens reading in public parks and others who gather kids for story hour in their grandparents’ courtyard. The way I see it, Reading Village has successfully empowered these teenagers to do excellent things in their lives, all stemming from literacy. These teens not only read, but through reading to kids, they teach younger kids how to read and inspire them to turn their own dreams into reality.
Through the many different programs Reading Village has, we are combating illiteracy from multiple directions. Everyday I am filled with joy knowing that I am interning for such a fabulous organization and that I am helping Reading Village move in positive directions.
– Madeline Nash, Reading Village Intern