Winner of Cannes Lions 2010 Direct Silver Lion Ad prize
The My First Book Project / JWT Cape Town
Developing nations face a literacy crisis. Only 20% of schools have books, and children literally don’t have the books to learn from. We wanted to do something to help. We wanted to get first learner-reader books into the hands of these kids.
The target audience was twofold: people in our advertising network, and underprivileged children in developing countries.
Our strategy was to show and inspire people that by transforming a piece of waste, they could transform the life of a child.
The Global Literacy Project, Inc., a nonprofit organization focused on literacy and gender equality in education, is celebrating its 10th anniversary. To celebrate this milestone, volunteers, friends and supporters, joined the organization’s Board at an anniversary dinner on September 25th at the Pines Manor in Edison, New Jersey. Founded in 1999/2000, the Global Literacy Project is the unlikely success story of a group of friends concerned about the dearth of educational resources that students and adult learners face worldwide.
Motivated to help, the group launched a book drive for one school, but that one-time act of kindness rapidly transformed into the inspiration for a global education movement. “It’s a momentous occasion for us when you consider that just ten years ago we began our work with a simple desire to upgrade a couple of school libraries used by children in Africa and the Caribbean,” said GLP president, Olubayi Olubayi. MORE>>
Global Literacy Project’s New Jersey “Take Reading Home” initiative received a substantial funding boost this year with the receipt of a $3,000 Verizon “Check Into Literacy” Grant. Verizon awarded 51 grants in 2010.
This funding will completely outfit two classrooms of twenty students each in New Brunswick where GLP volunteers are conducting a 20 week leveled reading program over two semesters. The grant, matched by donations from long time GLP supporter, 10th grade student Lily Steele, will provide for fifteen basic phonics books and five sets of early reader board books for every student as well as computers and software that provide interactive follow-up to each book.
The typical student in the classrooms GLP serves in New Brunswick comes from a home with few, if any, children’s books. Some of the parents have limited literacy or for whom English is a second language, so they have not read to the children on a regular basis, and might not be comfortable reading to them now.
The most significant feature of the Take Reading Home initiative is that the children will bring home books that they can read to their families. Because the children will be taking home books that they have learned to read with the assistance of the GLP volunteers, when they take the books home they can read independently, thus the parent is not required to give reading instruction. Instead, parents can listen to the child read, providing encouragement and additional skills practice, while fostering a love of books in their children.
Thanks to the generosity of Verizon customers in New Jersey who participated in the company’s Check Into Literacy program, 51 nonprofit organizations throughout the state received $250,000 in grants to support literacy programs. Verizon presented checks for the grants to the nonprofits at a ceremony on Tuesday (Sept. 14) in Livingston.
“Education is a major focus of Verizon’s philanthropic efforts, and these grants will give thousands of New Jerseyans the building blocks they need to learn and become more productive members of our society,” said Dennis M. Bone, president of Verizon New Jersey.
The program allows Verizon landline telephone customers to support literacy by checking a box on their monthly phone bills to make a $1 tax-deductible donation to promote literacy. Verizon then distributes these donations to local literacy organizations that serve the individual states in which the customers live.
GLP hopes to eventually install the same set of literacy support materials in all eighteen of the kindergarten classrooms that are part of the “Take Reading Home” program.
September 8th marked International Literacy Day as well the start of the new school year for students in GLP’s hometown of New Brunswick, New Jersey. As has become a happy routine over the past five years, GLP members visited the PRAB where they gave away over fifty backpacks filled with literacy supplies for students in the Puerto Rican Action Board’s Daycare program. GLP also provided a mix of early readers/bilingual books for over 260 students in the kindergarten classes.
New back packs filled with literacy supplies, bobbing on the backs of children throughout the nation is an image that we form in our minds when marking the beginning of the school year. There is a basic assumption that all of our nation’s children fit into this mold of Americana as summer fades and schools open their doors. However, communities served by the Puerto Rican Action Board daycare in New Brunswick, many of them with adults with skills for the now hard to find construction and agricultural sectors, have been facing economic challenges due to the painful ongoing economic contraction. As such, it becomes a challenge for both the school and parents to fully provide the expected back to school kit of crayons, markers, pencils, glue and a notebook,. This obviously creates distress on all sides, from parents, teachers to the children themselves.
This year, GLP members, Lissette Hererra and Summiya Abdul-Quddus were greeted with smiles and eyes that glimmered with excitement as they brought in backpacks with themes ranging from animal faces, insects and flowers. The teachers at the PRAB personalized each bag with the names of the students–many of who, overcome with anticipation, admired their new treasure with giggles and curious fingers!
The picturesque image of children happily working with basic school supplies is one that we should embrace all children around the world. It is an idea that the United Nations Millennium Goals have also embraced. Join GLP in making this image a reality, start your own community initiative, or ask us how you can help in our efforts, locally and globally!