November 22, 2017

Today Adrian and Ethan are joined by Cindy Caponera (Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie, Happy Texas) and Mo Gaffney (Saturday Night Live, Shameless and Nurse Jackie). We hear from the nonprofit, Books are Wings. Later in the show Kimberly and Chad bring us our Hero of the Week segment.

Literacy is one of the best predictors of a child's future success.

Children who cannot read do not receive the education that they need. They are unable to read their textbooks and have trouble comprehending their homework and tests. Many of these kids who have problems reading will not graduate from high school.

We all know that for someone who does not graduate from high school, there are very limited job options and even the few options that are available are not enough support themselves, let alone a family. This can condemn illiterate people to a life of poverty and financial difficulties.

Society as a whole is negatively impacted by illiteracy. The members who cannot read often rely on some form of government or private aid to survive. There are fewer people to perform complex jobs that require education and the ability to read.

Sadly, two-thirds of America's children living in poverty have no books at home, and the number of families living in poverty continues to rise. Many libraries are being forced to close or reduce their operating hours. Children who do not have access to books or read regularly are vulnerable to falling behind in school.

Did you know...

Books Are Wings
Books Are Wings

While in Providence, Rhode Island earlier this month, Adrian visited Books Are Wings, a charity in Pawtucket.  

The mission of Books Are Wings is to put free books in the hands of children. They believe every child should experience the joy of reading and envision every child in Rhode Island with access to quality reading experiences and books. Research suggests that growing up in a home with at least 20 books is associated with 3 additional years of schooling for children. Books Are Wings seeks to provide every child with regular access to books.

Creating platforms and opportunities for children to be exposed to and enthralled by books is key to changing the crippling effects of poverty on literacy. This is exactly what Books Are Wings’ Book Party programs are designed to do. Their programs expose children from low-income families to literacy-rich reading materials.

Their goal is to put 40,000 books into children's hands during the 2016-2017 school year through school and early learning book parties, community distribution events and summer programs.  Adrian talked with Jocelynn White, the Director of Books Are Wings, about their programs.

Malala Yousafzai
Malala Yousafzai

Chad opens today's Peace Fund Hero of the Week segment with the story of Malala Yousafzai who was injured on 9 October 2012 by a Taliban gunman when he attempted to murder her at the age of 15.  The murder attempt sparked a national and international outpouring of support for Yousafzai.  

Since recovering, Yousafzai became a prominent education activist. She began speaking out for girls’ education at the age of 11. After surviving an assassination attempt, she co-founded Malala Fund with her father Ziauddin, and in 2013 co-authored "I am Malala", an international bestseller.  She is the youngest ever Nobel Laureate. 

Malala Fund champions every girl’s right to 12 years of free, safe, quality education. They believe girls are the best investment in the future peace and prosperity of our world.  Malala Fund works in regions where the most girls miss out on secondary education. Their priority countries are Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Nigeria and countries housing Syrian refugees (Lebanon and Jordan).

In 2015, Yousafzai was a subject of the Oscar-shortlisted documentary “He Named Me Malala”.

Sidney Fahrenbruch and Officer David Bonday
Sidney Fahrenbruch and Officer David Bonday
Officer Kyle Zulauf
Officer Kyle Zulauf

Kimberly shares the story of Sidney Fahrenbruch, a 4-year-old girl in Colorado who has long had a fascination with police.  In an adorable story, earlier this year, David Bonday, came to her family’s new home after Sidney asked them to check for monster.

Her mother, Megan Fahrenbruch, said her daughter visits the police station about once a week and frequently brings the officers treats like candy and cookies.  Because of her weekly visits, Sidney immediately recognized a fundraising poster at the police station that had a photo of Officer Kyle Zulauf. 

Zulauf, an Army veteran and father of three, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer 1 1/2 years ago. His police department has been trying to raise the money he needs to pay for an additional surgery. 

Sidney told her mother then and there she wanted to give Zulauf her piggy bank money, about $9 in bills and half a bag of change.  You can read the story here.  Photos are courtesy of the Longmont Police Department.