Atlanta-based Non-Profit Will Launch Mission with Holiday-Themed Reading Program
Atlanta-based non-profit WeLove2Read (WL2R) has built its mission on a simple premise borrowed from Dr. Seuss: “The more you read, the more you’ll know.”
WL2R was founded by Sally Eggleston, who also serves on the DeKalb Library Foundation board, to provide books to at-risk youth, including those in the foster system, homeless shelters, low-income families, transitional housing and in the juvenile justice system.
“These are the children most likely to fall behind in school, negatively altering the course of their lives and never realizing their full potential,” stated Eggleston. “Their lost potential negatively impacts the communities in which they live and work. Students who don’t read proficiently by the third grade are four times more likely to drop out of school, and school dropouts cost our nation $240 billion annually in social service expenditures and lost tax revenues.”
But Eggleston believes that something as simple as a book can change all of that for the better.
“I grew up one of nine children,” said Eggleston. “My family did not have a lot of resources but I had a library card, and the highlight of every Saturday was my trip to the library, where I could load up on books for free. My physical world might have been limited but the worlds those books opened up in my imagination were limitless and filled with possibilities. That’s the hope I want to bring to these kids – to open their imaginations and inspire them to be whatever they want to be.”
W2LR plans to raise funds through four means:
- Individual readers can pay a registration fee, list their county of residence and what theme-related book they will read and, during a read-a-thon, post to social media outlets, sharing thoughts and stories with others.
- Registered teams (such as corporate groups, book and social clubs) will pay a group fee and do the same, with encouraged competitions between members and/or competing groups)
- Hourly corporate sponsors can pay a fee to “host” online with promotional information posted for the host entity.
- General donations will be accepted by friends, family of readers and others who wish to contribute without participating in the read-a-thon. At other times, during the year, online giving campaigns may be tied to national holidays or special observations.
WL2R will launch in December with the first of its community read-a-thons. “A Very Merry Read” will commence at sundown on Friday, December 8 and end at sundown on Sunday, December 10. For those 48 hours, Atlanta readers will come together to enjoy holiday-themed books with friends, families and strangers, sharing the experience via social media. Sponsors can choose to support individual readers for as little as $30, a family of five readers for $90 or a team of 10 readers for $240. Corporate sponsorships are also available.
All proceeds will be used to fund WL2R’s mission of books for at-risk youth. 25% of all dollars received go to local libraries for the exclusive use of adding to its children’s collections. Many children visit libraries and it’s a way to supplement their reading materials without they or their families having to buy books. Sometimes library books are their only resource for reading.
For children in homeless shelters and transitional housing, W2LR will work with organizations such as The Boys and Girls Clubs, churches with homeless ministries and food pantries, missions and The Salvation Army, to prepare and deliver book bags with a least two books and, when possible, other reading and writing materials. In addition, the organization is currently working with foster agencies and schools to identify foster children to include in the program.
WL2R seeks to not only raise funds for books but to emphasize “reading to learn” more than “learning to read.” A well-read child becomes a reading adult and, moreover, a sense of curiosity is engendered. “What if, what about” become common questions and lead to the need to learn more.
Eggleston feels that solving the illiteracy problem in the U.S. starts with these kids. “There is a direct correlation between reading and the poverty level,” she stated. “50% of the unemployed between the ages of 16 and 21 cannot read well enough to be considered functionally literate. The simple gift of a book to a child could change the course of his or her life and help them be a more productive member of their community.”
Founded in Atlanta, Georgia, WeLove2Read (WL2R) provides fun, age-appropriate books to foster, shelter, homeless and other at-risk children, seeking to instill a love of books and create a thirst for knowledge. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, WL2R donates 70% of all revenue to its mission. More information is available at welove2read.org, or follow the organization on Facebook.