Friday, August 28, 2009

Reader To Reader Launches Costa Rica Project

Reader To Reader is proud to announce the launching of Beyond el campo, a new books and computers donation initiative to build school libraries in rural Costa Rica.

With project Beyond el campo, Reader To Reader will work together with severely under-resourced high school students in rural Costa Rica in an effort to strengthen their educational resources and expand their academic community.

Project Beyond el campo will team with local community members to build a new school library, and provide librarian training to local community members by our Spanish-speaking certified library technician, in order to make the library sustainable and 100% community-run.

The second half of the project includes creating an on-line mentorship program between bi-lingual Amherst College reading mentors and the Costa Rican students. The online mentoring will not only bring students the supplementary support lacking in the classroom environment, but will introduce students to crucial technological skills, and through networking with successful U.S. students, inspire the students to bring innovation and entrepreneurship to their local and greater community and excel beyond “el campo” (Spanish for field or countryside).

The project will be headed by Caitlin Scudder, an Amherst College student and Reader To Reader’s new Assistant Director of International Programs.

Caitlin began her affiliation with Reader To Reader as a reading mentor in both the Navajo Mentoring Program and Doris Hiatt Mentoring Program. This summer she helped establish the Summer Enrichment Program, which works with low-income Native-American students in an intensive three-week program on the Amherst College campus.

"I am thrilled about this project and the opportunity to bring what we do at Reader To Reader to the schools in Costa Rica that need it most," Scudder says. "Having spent significant time within a rural Costa Rican school community, I have seen the need and know the passion these kids have to learn is real. By equipping schools with the crucial tools they need in order to make their classrooms academically successful, we are making it possible for these schools to improve the quality of education they give to students, and help them enable students to strive for heights they never knew were reachable."

Phase one of the project focuses on Santa Cruz de León Cortés, a small coffee-farming community with low academic achievement and a severely low percentage of students who continue on to higher education.

In the high school’s 2008 graduating class, only 50% of students graduated and received diplomas, and one student alone went on to pursue a university education.

The cycle of academic underachievement and general disinterest originates from a lack of adequate available resources that are crucial to inspire success.

Project Beyond el campo will impact the greater Santa Cruz community by providing the high school with the educational tools and training that will enable the community to be successful; and through connecting students with a support network of U.S. college mentors, will create a bond between the local Amherst College community and Santa Cruz.

For more information on Beyond el campo email:

Monday, August 24, 2009

Retired Teachers Helping New Teachers

The other day a retired teacher from Cleveland, Ohio, came by with an entire pickup truck full of classroom material.

Packed into six large tubs, he brought a treasure trove of bulletin board materials, educational games, student worksheets, maps, charts, and other resources that he had accumulated over his 30 years as an elementary school teacher.

Every year we have a number of retiring teachers that want to pass on the resources that they created and acquired over decades of teaching. Rather than throw it out they wisely want to donate these resources to young teachers who often pay out of pocket in order to fully equip their classrooms.

We are so glad we can play a role in helping one generation of teachers reach out to another.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Thank You for the Generous Donation

A big cheer for Patricia Lanchester, property manager at the James Lee Court Apartments in Oakland, California! Ms. Lanchester has set up a lending library for the children living in the affordable housing units.

Dear Reader to Reader,

On behalf of the kids of James Lee Court, I’d like to thank you for the generous donation of new reading material. I have organized a reading club for our underprivileged kids and I am hoping to affect their education by making reading fun this summer.

The Reader To Reader books are currently being sorted and tagged so that each child has an opportunity to read and borrow the books at their leisure.

We are a non-profit organization with no funds for things such as community services, but we have been blessed in many small ways.

Kind Regards,

Patricia Lanchester
Property Manager

(The apartments are owned by Dignity Housing West, Inc. an affordable housing developer with IRS tax-exempt status. Dignity Housing West was founded in 1989 as a 3-way partnership between the First Unitarian Church, a community based church with a history of service; Oakland Union of the Homeless, a group of homeless-rights advocates and crusaders; and Oakland Community Housing, Inc.)

Monday, August 3, 2009

101 boxes!

60 days into our Navajo Nation Library Book Drive we already have collected 101 boxes of top-notch books. The books for every age from toddlers to seniors are all in excellent condition thanks to the expert sorting of our community volunteers.

There are lots of mysteries thanks to the contributions of the Mystery Writers of America and some great nonfiction courtesy of Parade Magazine. Terrific children’s books too! Thank you to all the donors. Please keep the books coming!

The Navajo Nation Library Book Drive is collecting 100,000 books and 100 computers for the Navajo Nation Library. The library serves the 27,000 sq. mile Navajo Nation in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah.