Monday, December 23, 2013

The 10 Best Moments of 2013: A Year in Review

It’s been an amazing year at Reader to Reader, from a difference made to one child to huge booms in our programming. Here’s a taste of our favorite moments from the year.

1.  100,000 books donated to the Navajo Nation! After three years of great partnership and hard work, Reader to Reader completed its initial commitment of 100,000 books donated to schools and libraries across the Navajo reservation. Of course, we’ve committed another 100,000 books so the work keeps going! 

2.     The ELL Academy helped 120 students build their English skills over the summer. Our 23 mentor-interns had a huge impact on the kids, with the number one request from teachers, students and administrators alike being “more time with the mentors.” This program was run in partnership with Holyoke Public Schools.
3.      Rudi, a third grade student at Zanetti School in Springfield, Massachusetts, rocketed from a late-kindergarten reading level to reading on grade level thanks to the school’s reading recovery team. As you can imagine, he quickly ran out of new books to read! We brought a whole box just for Rudi, and his big smile and firm handshake made a big impression on our staff. Keep it up, Rudi!

4.       We launched a new college awareness and preparation program for first generation and low-income students this summer. Blueprint for Success was a stunning success in Springfield, with 25 students receiving support in college matching, applications and SAT prep. The program will educate parents in Holyoke in 2014 in addition to a second cohort in Springfield.

5.       Our family literacy programs DiscoverBooks and Encamínate are at record-high involvement, with 65 families participating! New creative empowerment components include public art, civic engagement, and a cooperative craft initiative.

6.       A project near and dear to our heart is very close to completion: replacing laptop computers for Hopi Mission School. On Thanksgiving 2012 the school was robbed of all its laptops. Over the past year, we’ve donated a secure, locking cart as well as 12 laptops for their students.

7.       We mentored over 940 students in 2013 through our Read, Think, Share program!

8.       We were proud to work with Brightwood Elementary School in Springfield, MA to launch Book Your Vacation. Before each school vacation, every child in the school would receive a new book to keep for their very own. We’ve never seen so many smiling, happy faces! The program culminated in a wonderful field day celebration for the summer giveaway.

9.       An impressive $171,000 worth of science & math textbooks were donated to high schools and colleges in Massachusetts, Arizona, North Dakota, Mississippi and Ghana thanks to Steve Slavin and Sinauer Associates.

10.    A very unusual letter arrived at our office one morning in March from Breeona, a student at Gallup Catholic School. Breeona had found a $100 bill in one of the books we donated to her classroom, and sent it back to us so we could “buy more books for other children.” Her honesty and kindness were so heartwarming, we sent another $500 worth of books to her school.

Here’s to 2013, and to an even more fantastic 2014!

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