Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy

I imagine most know by now that Jinny Fallon published his first children’s book in 2015. Aside from all the laughs that book surely caused, now he’s doing something more important.

He’s teaming up with his publisher to donate $1,000,000 worth of books to First Book, a nonprofit based in the US that provides new books to children in need.

I imagine some might criticize him for this because surely a disadvantaged kid could use something else (food, clean water, clothing) just a bit more than a book they may not even want. My response is to say literacy is of the utmost importance. An illiterate child is immediately left behind by his or her peers, and that gap is incredibly difficult to overcome. To discount the importance of literacy does harm and no good.

Disadvantaged children need food, clothing, shelter, and clean water. But they also need books. They do.

Jimmy Fallon won’t solve every problem by donating these books, but at least he’s focusing on one. Are you?

United Way’s Reading Together Program

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Photo Credit: The Tennessean

Okay. This weekend I came across something that I think is great and I immediately knew I had to write a post about it. If you live under a rock, United Way is non-profit organization that raises money for all kinds of programs from helping women escape abusive relationships to providing care for the elderly. They do something for everyone.

The program I’d like to tell you all about is called Reading Together. I’m not sure if it’s currently in every part of the country or not, but we’ll get to that in a second. Reading Together was started after a series of surveys conducted by United Way found that half of 4th graders in Texas are not as proficient in reading as they should be. So Reading Together is the result of those studies.

What is it? The program matches an adult volunteer with an elementary student for an entire school semester. The volunteer reader and the student will then spend an hour each week reading together. So easy and yet so important.

This came to my attention during a work meeting in which a United Way representative spoke to a number of our employees and said that her experience as a volunteer in the Reading Together program was something she’ll never forget, and I believe it.

See, I know a lot of people on here don’t like how I write my posts and I bet even more people don’t like how I interact with other bloggers. I’m perfectly fine with that, but this is important and it’s easy. Who cares what you think of me? If the numbers she gave are true about kids in Texas, then I’d be willing to bet that most states face similar struggles in getting students reading at the appropriate level. If you read my blog, then you likely love books and everything that has to do with them at least as much as I do. Show it. An hour a week for a single school semester is nothing. And there’s no doubt in my mind that you’ll cherish the experience.

I’m not sure if Reading Together is operating in all parts of the country. I tried to find information on the website about it, but it just asks you to donate rather than volunteer. If you’re unable to volunteer a single hour each week to help a young student get reading, then this is one of those programs that you may consider donating to. Here is theĀ link to the United Way volunteer page, perhaps you can donate your time to one of their many programs.