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Sponsorship makes If You Give A Child A Book work

2 major sponsors have shown commitment to community and education in Colorado Springs
Posted at 11:04 AM, Apr 07, 2023

COLORADO SPRINGS — Sponsorship is so critical to the success of the "If You Give A Child A Book" campaign, and it has proven to be the case here in Southern Colorado. Two of the most prominent supporters of this program to get our kids to read are the Colorado Springs Rotary Club North and AFCEA, which works to empower children through science, technology, engineering, and math education.

I recently met with the Rotarians at their weekly meeting at Patty Jewett Golf Course where members gather to discuss the various philanthropic causes they promote locally, and for the second year, they are a sponsor of the campaign to buy and provide free books to hundreds of kids across our area.

Their club President, Gina Hayden told me "Our goal as Rotarians is to help our community and we see this program as definitely a way to do that, we're helping children to be successful now, to be successful tomorrow, and to be successful in the long term as members of our community".

Their fifteen thousand dollar donation will go towards the purchase of those books the kids will read at school, but will also be able to take home to begin to build their own personal library. They are providing books to children at Queen Palmer Elementary in Colorado Springs School District 11, which is called a Title One school, serving economically underserved children. But the relationship with Queen Palmer pre-dates the Give A Child A Book campaign, their members have been actively participating in a reading program for years. Hayden explained to me, "You've got an adult who comes in and who is working with the kids and they want to show you how much they've learned and what they can do so they're excited about it and we're excited about it."

The belief for Rotarians and all of the primary sponsors of this reading campaign is based on research done by the Scripps Foundation that a significant marker for educational and career success is tied to improved reading skills beginning when most kids are only 8 or 9 years old. And, that a child who can't read at grade level by third grade is four times less likely to graduate from high school. If this same child lives in poverty, 13 times less likely to graduate. So, the more sponsors we secure, the more books we can buy to make sure the future for these kids is centered around learning and being successful adults.

And for AFCEA, a local nonprofit that focuses on "STEM" education has been a major sponsor as well for three years now, donating another $45-thousand dollars for the '23-'24 school year, they also recognize the importance of developing early reading skills for children. I met recently with Russ Fellers Vice President for Education with the group who told me, "We strongly believe in early literacy, we see early literacy as a key path to STEM education, and if you don't have those reading skills in that reading level learning early, the fall off and how quickly you get behind your peers is pretty dramatic"

And Fellers says that AFCEA's influential reach extends to Pueblo, Woodland Park to the west, and communities on the eastern plains. They designate some half a million dollars each year to educational outreach in local communities. They firmly believe that the more young lives they touch today, it will pay off years down the road. Fellers told me this is a generational investment, "You see how important books are and you see now that you've laid that first stone, right and now you've gonna see, I want more books, I read these 5 or these 10, how do I get more books."

To learn how you or your company can get involved click here.