BY RICK LIMPERT
“You’re never alone when you’re reading a book.”
― Susan Wiggs
“Before this generation lose the wisdom, one advice - read books.”
― Amit Kalantri
Donate a book, save a future.
It seems logical and simple, but it’s also the mission statement of a non-profit all volunteer program that needs your donations to keep improving libraries at inner-city schools in the Los Angeles metro area.
Access Books, is the brainchild and passion of founder, Rebecca Constantino.
It’s been a long road for Constantino, who founded the non-profit back in 1999 and started by delivering books to local schools herself, out of the trunk of her car.
She continues her journey by helping kids today, but she needs help.
“Our program is needed more than ever,” said Constantino, Ph.D., founder and executive director of Access Books. “I really don’t think people realize so little money is devoted to libraries in California. Pleasure reading is the basis for all academic reading. The basic fact is that you can’t read your social studies book until you can read ‘Captain Underpants.’ Honestly, 90 percent of getting children to read is to give them interesting things to read.”
To date, Access Books has worked with more than 150 schools and a waiting list is now growing. So far, more than 1.5 million books have been donated and a number of libraries have been remodeled. The likes of Starbucks and celebrities like Oprah Winfrey have sung the praises of Access Books.
That’s fine and dandy, but I wanted to hear from those benefiting most from the program and Constantino’s work- the kids.
“The more times I go to the school library, the more I get to read. There is always something different. The bad thing is I go only once a week and I get only one book. It always takes me a long time to choose what to get. I try not to get frustrated because there is so much I want”. Edson, 3rd grade
“Without the library, “I would not have anything to read and I won’t get much smarter.” Levy, 1st Grade
“Without the school library and books, life would be so different. When you don’t read books, you are wasting away. It makes it a longer day when I don’t read.” Edson, 3rd grade
“My favorite place in the school is the library. When we got all the new books, I wanted to get to school just to get a new one. I am so excited to get a new book.” Marisol, 5th grade
“Without the school library, life would be so sad. It is the only place I get books and without books, I am not sure what to do.” Jasmine, 4th grade
Those quotes are pretty telling. Kids want the opportunity to read and Access Books provides that to kids that should get the chance.
Per Access Books:
A number of recent studies have indicated that a lack of access to library books has a direct impact on child’s academic achievement. It was found that the activity of reading, particularly for pleasure, could improve a child’s learning skills. Also in recent studies, researchers linked performance on test scores to a student’s access to books for pleasure reading.
“Children who read well perform better on tests,” said Constantino. “This has been proven in numerous studies.”
Reading is a hobby, that Constantino knows first hand that can turn into a lifestyle.
“For me, it’s a very simple formula – you buy books, you donate books, you paint and clean up the library and kids read,” adds Constantino.
Constantino grew up in low-income family in Reno, Nevada. Her immediate love of books gave her a foundation to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy from the College of Idaho, a Master of Arts degree at the University of Nevada in Reno, and a doctorate in language, literacy and learning from the University of Southern California.
Reading can leads kids down an amazing path of success and accomplishments.
Constantino and a deserving bunch of kids need your help.
You can make a tax-deductible donation, all amounts are welcomed and appreciated.
Click here to read this article on the Examiner.com’s website.