Reading Aloud — The Greatest Gift Your Kids Can Give You
ENDING GENERATIONAL POVERTY
OVERVIEW on the “SEEDS to READ” PROGRAM
We have created a new award winning (from the Greater Cleveland Food Bank) program to help end generational poverty which is defined as two or more generations of a family living in poverty. We operate the Woodland food pantry, located in Cleveland’s Central neighborhood where 92 percent of residents live below the federal poverty level. Each month, the pantry serves hundreds of families living in generational poverty. Those entrapped in this type of poverty have limited education, poor verbal skills, and often times few job skills with little hope of escaping their predicament.
Neuroscientists tell us that the first 2000 days in a child’s life are the most critical because brain neurons during this time are most productive and receptive to learning. The newborn brain continues to add neurons at a rapid rate during these first 2000 days. This period is also the beginning of self-confidence, vocabulary, vision and touch when the brain captures experiences more efficiently than it will later in life. A third grade child born into generational poverty, will have a vocabulary of about 1000 words in contrast to a 4000 word vocabulary of a third grade child born to educated parents.
To capitalize on this important window of opportunity for learning the Society gives out FREE children’s books to parents as they come through the Woodland food pantry each month. If we can lead a child to read at an early age, there is a significant chance he/she will retain a love of reading the rest of his/her life and will have a greatly increased chance of graduating from high school and breaking the bond of generational poverty.
Our SEEDS to READ program targets children from newborn to age 5 (the first 2000 days) and is designed to start the child’s educational journey and help build a foundation of lifelong learning.
Because we know it will be challenging for parents/guardians to help the child learn due to their limited parenting skills, we incorporate what we call “bookmarks” with every book we give out. These bookmarks use simple language to instruct parents/guardians how to use the book while holding the child on their lap.
Although we realize we won’t produce 100% success, we do believe that we can make a significant difference in the lives of many children by providing SEEDS (books) to READ during the critical 2000 days of most receptive brain function.
Our current need is for volunteers that we call “librarians” to interview parents/guardians as they come for food and inquire how many children 5 and under in the household. Then the librarian will give them one age-appropriate book for each child plus a “bookmark” to help the parent use the book. Our Woodland pantry is open every Friday from 10 am to 1 pm. Maybe you know of a community service organization that might take responsibility for providing a few librarians.
Further information please contact Bob Reuter, firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 440 243.0510. Thank you for any assistance you can offer.