December 26, 2018

Today, The Peace Fund takes its reading initiative to the Peace4Kids Christmas event in Los Angeles. Later in the show Adrian talks with Bruce Gale, our Kid Hero program manager.

It was John F. Kennedy who said, "Children are the world's most valuable resource and its best hope for the future".

Education transforms lives and breaks the cycle of poverty that traps so many children. An educated child will make sure her own children receive an education.  Literacy is probably the single-most important part of education. Without literacy, all other learning is impossible. 

Worldwide, an estimated 775 million adults are considered functionally illiterate.  Over 93 million Americans have basic or below-basic literacy. Low literacy rates cost the United States over $200 billion each year.

All across America, children from low-income communities are entering kindergarten without the basic early literacy skills for lifelong success. Children enter the school system behind their more affluent peers and are unable to catch up.

Did you know?

• Approximately 1 in 4 children in America grow up without learning how to read.

• 66% of all fourth graders are not proficient in reading.

• Students are over 4 times more likely to drop out of school if they are unable to read proficiently by the 3rd grade.

You probably know it as Celebrity Interactive Storytelling initiative…which, upon reflection, seemed a little long.  So, we decided to put the kid in it and rebrand it as “Kids Read to Lead”. 

The Peace Fund launched the program in Los Angeles in March of 2016.  To kick off the program, Adrian joined Kimberly Moore at Roosevelt Elementary School for Read Across America.   The National Education Association's Read Across America Day is the nation's largest reading event, occurring each year on or near Dr. Seuss' birthday (March 2nd).  

At our first Peace Fund event, Adrian read to over 45 children all ages 5 to 7 at the Los Angeles Boys and Girls Club. Overall, the event was a hit with the kids.  Children were engaged in literacy as Adrian read and had the children act out one of the books titled, "Peter Pan." The children also received two books to take home where they could read them again and again to parents and siblings. 

Adrian and our celebrity friends have taken the program into schools, pre-school programs, child care facilities and other events to share the experience with other young children. 

On Saturday, December 8, Kids Read to Lead joined the Peace 4 Kids Holiday Party at a Metro Atlanta Boys & Girls Club.  Peace4Kids is a nonprofit on a mission to build a supportive community for youth in foster care in South Los Angeles. We’ll be bringing you an interview with Zaid Gayle, the Executive Director, in the next few weeks.

Ruth Stalford, the Founder & Executive Directive of The Book Foundation, a charity we highlighted in October, donated books for the kids while Adrian and several celebrities took our program to the event.  This was a large, fun-filled experience for the kids with all kinds of activities available so the reading was a little different from our usual events.  Trying to wrangle the little ones with so many distractions was entertaining in itself.

Adrian was joined by Christina and Kyle Herbert, Kellen Goff, Zeno Robinson, Laura Stahl, Josh Petersdorf, Cherami Leigh and David Chen.

We now bring you their thoughts on this awesome event.