Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Navajo Librarian Battles Hurricane Sandy to Bring Books Back to Navajo Nation

With the winds of Hurricane Sandy hitting gusts of 50-miles-per-hour, Irving Nelson, Program Supervisor for the Navajo Nation Library in Window Rock, drove a 26-foot truck loaded with 7-tons of books through Massachusetts and Pennsylvania Monday.

Nelson is making his second trip this year to bring back over 16,000 books and a dozen computers that will be distributed to 16 schools on the Navajo Nation and Hopi reservation.

A similar trip in July brought back 15,000 books and 21 computers.

The books and computers are being donated by Reader to Reader, a Massachusetts literacy organization that has donated over $1,000,000 worth of books to the Navajo Nation in the past ten years.

A team of Reader to Reader employees and volunteers raced to load the truck, trying to beat the storm as it moved up the eastern seaboard.

“Irving Nelson is one of a kind,” said Reader to Reader founder David Mazor.” He’s very dedicated and he’s even willing to drive through a hurricane if it benefits the Navajo and Hopi people.”

It's not the first praise Nelson has received. In 2009 he received the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian's Prism Award.

The books are expected to arrive in Window Rock, Arizona on Friday, November 2, after a 2,300 mile journey, and will be distributed to schools the following week.

Some of the schools receiving books include St. Michael Indian School, Alta Vista Elementary, Jeddito School, Navajo Pine High School, Window Rock High School, Pine Hill School, First Mesa Elementary, Hopi Mission School, Second Mesa Elementary School, Moencopi Day School, Pine Hill School, Gallup Catholic School, Keans Canyon Elementary School, St. Bonaventure Mission Indian School, Valley High School, and Hopi Jr./Sr. High School.

In addition to the list of schools, books will make their way on to the shelves of boys and girls clubs, senior centers, the Navajo Nation Library and their branch library in Kayenta, the Thoreau Community Center, and will be given out by the First Lady of the Navajo Nation, Martha Shelley, in her outreach to Navajo children.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Parents' Resource Center Gets Furnitures and Computers

New furniture and computers are just some of the things Reader to Reader is helping bring to the new Parents’ Resource Center at E.N. White Elementary School in Holyoke, Massachusetts.

The furniture was generously donated by Conklin Office Furniture and the 4 Dell computers were donated through Reader to Reader's Computer Donation Program.

The Center is home to our DiscoverBooks Program that works with parents. The program teaches them literacy skills that will enable them to better support their children in school. The program also teaches English to non-English-speaking parents that have children attending the school.

DiscoverBooks is made possible by funding from the United Way, Target, the Holyoke Food and Fitness Policy Council, the AEC Trust, and the Irene E. & George A Davis Foundation.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

WorldRead Club Grows Literacy on Navajo Nation

Students at Navajo Pine High School in Navajo, New Mexico have established their own WorldRead club to help boost literacy on the Navajo Nation.

 The club is being overseen by Reader to Reader’s Navajo Outreach Coordinator, Ophelia Hu.

WorldRead clubs are Reader to Reader’s volunteer student organizations for both high school and college students. Participants read to children and give out hundreds of books donated by Reader to Reader. They also boost their own reading skills through a book discussion group, and work on other literacy projects that they design and implement.

For information on establishing a WorldRead club at your high school or college, please write to info@readertoreader.org.

Reader to Reader’s Navajo Outreach Coordinator is funded through the generous support of the Fordham Street Foundation, the Hiatt Family Foundation, and Jean and Lynn Miller.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Bridging the Gap

Reader to Reader is teaming with the Salvation Army's Bridging the Gap program in Holyoke, Massachusetts to bring books into their classrooms.

Bridging the Gap works with at-risk boys and girls ages 12-17. This twelve-week program develops life skills and works with participants to improve behavior, reduce criminal activity, provide mentoring and positive role models, improve learning skills and work towards a successful adulthood.

Bridging the Gap has just begun its work in Holyoke, and currently serves teens from the city as well as Granby, South Hadley and Chicopee.

Three boxes of books were brought over last week, and more are on their way.

In addition to books, our innovative mentoring program (Read, Think, Share) will be integrated into the program at Holyoke to improve the students' interest and ability in reading and to provide college student role models.

Together, we hope to show these teens the joy of reading and the possibility of their own future. We're looking forward to a very fruitful partnership!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

On the Job! On the Navajo Nation!

Ophelia Hu, Reader to Reader’s new Navajo Outreach Coordinator, has settled into her new job living and working on the Navajo Nation.

Ophelia is based at St. Michael Indian School in St. Michaels, Arizona, and from there she does outreach to Navajo Nation schools in western Arizona and eastern New Mexico.

A 2012 graduate of Amherst College, Ophelia is already teaching ACT test preparation classes at two schools and helping run Reader to Reader’s Navajo Mentoring Program and College Knowledge Program. The latter program is a partnership between Reader to Reader and Dartmouth College.

Reader to Reader’s Navajo Outreach Coordinator is funded through the generous support of the Fordham Street Foundation, the Hiatt Family Foundation, and Jean and Lynn Miller.