September is National Literacy Month! Half Price Books has been thrilled to partner with literacy nonprofits throughout the United States for years, and we particularly wanted to highlight these great partners throughout this special month. Be sure to check our social each Tuesday this month for a new post about literacy partners from our different regions. We’ll describe their missions, how COVID-19 has impacted their work and what you can do to help support them. As always, most of our stores will have coin boxes available at the registers for donations, which go directly to our local partners. If you’d prefer to donate straight to the agencies listed below, please just click on the DONATE NOW buttons below and you’ll be directed to their donation pages!
This week, we’re focusing on literacy partners from HPB’s Southeast Region.
Everybody Wins! Atlanta
Everybody Wins! is a national nonprofit literacy organization devoted to promoting children’s literacy and love of reading through shared reading experiences with caring mentors, enhancing children’s self-esteem, and expanding their possibilities for success in school and life. Everybody Wins! programs currently serve thousands of children in 62 cities across the country. Established in 1997, Everybody Wins! Atlanta has served thousands of students with our primary reading initiative, Power Lunch. We just celebrated our 23rd anniversary this year.
COVID 19 has taken our program in a new direction, and we are using Zoom and online books to connect our students and mentors this year. We are working with schools, parents, students and mentors to accomplish this new endeavor. We realize it will be a challenge to pay for software and distribute books for students’ home libraries, but feel this is just another way to expand our programs and engage students and encourage them to read more books.
Marietta Reads! is a citywide effort to foster reading and literacy in our community. The purpose of this initiative is to encourage Marietta City School students to read more, read better and read widely. Research suggests that students who read improve vocabulary, develop an excellent background for future learning, improve academic performance and develop a lifelong habit that will enrich experiences.
Literacy Chicago’s mission is to empower individuals to achieve greater self-sufficiency through language and literacy instruction.
Due to the COVID pandemic we had to completely readapt and rethink the way we provide instruction to our students. We have transitioned all of our programs to an online platform. However, the greatest challenge due to this pandemic is that there have been many issues for students who have been impacted by the digital divide. This is a serious problem and unfortunately the students who need our services the most are the ones who have been adversely affected. These are mostly the students with very low literacy levels who can only read at a second or third grade level, and of course their digital literacy is very low. These are also people who are often struggling financially and are also often isolated. We are trying to accomplish our mission to empower all our students by reaching out to them individually, lending them equipment and working one on one to help them all get connected.
The Literacy Alliance of Fort Wayne
The Literacy Alliance strives to end illiteracy by teaching adults through learning centers, literacy programs and tutoring services that empower individuals to succeed at work, at home and in the community.
Since mid-March, The Literacy Alliance has faced and surmounted many new challenges. By utilizing the latest technologies, classes transitioned from in person to online, enabling students to continue making progress on their educational goals. TLA teachers quickly transitioned to virtual lessons and our staff and volunteers adapted by providing extra support, calling and texting students to give a listening ear. In mid-June we returned to in-person classes that include safety precautions such as small class sizes and mandatory masks; a permanent online class will be available this fall and Chromebooks will be available for home use by students.
National Center for Families Learning
NCFL works to eradicate poverty through education solutions for families.
COVID has disrupted NCFL’s ability to provide research-based, in-person literacy programs to families across the country. This is due to both social distancing regulations as well as cancelled or delayed funding opportunities that are critical to fulfilling our mission. NCFL has worked diligently and creatively to support the education of families most in need through new, innovative virtual programming.
Gateway Region YMCA
The Mission of the YMCA is to put Christian principles into practice through programs that promote healthy spirit, mind and body for all. The Mission of the Vision of the Community Development YMCA is that everyone graduates high school ready for the next step in his/her life.
The YMCA continues to invest in the education of youth and adults in our region while negotiating the health and economic challenges brought on by the pandemic. Our branches have consistently provided safe childcare. First we did this for essential workers as they staffed our hospitals and grocery stores during the shutdown. Now we are providing a structured environment in which youth can login to virtual classrooms, enjoy physical activity and get academic support while their parents are working. We have moved our tutoring programs online and reached out to our school partners to support students who fell behind during the spring and summer. We appreciate our volunteers learning new software and are working to raise funds to pay for the additional technology we need to continue to engage youth and adult learners in these new ways.
We hope you learned more about the local literacy efforts of the HPB partners in your region and, in doing so, are moved to help in any way you can given the effects of COVID-19 on their operations. As always, our coinbox donations for the month of September will go directly to these organizations so be on the lookout for them at the registers of your local Half Price Books store. Click here for a complete list of HPB literacy partners across all regions.