October 10, 2018

On today's show, Adrian and Bev visit The Book Foundation, a nonprofit in Los Angeles, and talk with Ruth Stalford, the Founder & Executive Director.  Later, Bruce Gale brings us an interview with this week's Kid Hero, Kylee McCumber.

A lack of literacy skills holds a person back at every stage of their life. As a child, they will not be able to succeed at school.  Someone who does not graduate from high school has limited job options. Many of the options that are available are not enough support an adult, let alone a family. This can condemn illiterate people to a life of poverty and financial difficulties. It is this intergenerational cycle that makes social mobility and a fairer society much more difficult to achieve.  

Just imagine not being able to read a book, to understand street signs and navigate public transportation, to read a prescription label or to fill out a form.

Just consider these statistics from Reading is Fundamental:

• 63% of 4th graders read below grade level.  They students will only fall further behind as the curriculum advances, contributing to 8,000 students dropping out of high school every day.

• More than 80 percent of children from economically disadvantaged communities lose reading skills over the summer because they lack access to books, learning resources, and such enrichment opportunities as trips to the library, bookstore, or museum.

• 93 million adults in the U.S. read at or below the basic level needed to contribute successfully to society.

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.

This brings us to today's charity, The Book Foundation...

The Book Foundation, a charity in Los Angeles, has a simple mission: Close the achievement gap with a holistic approach to literacy that places books directly in the hands and homes of underserved children and families. The Book Foundation supplies Book Nooks & Story Corners in the places where they are needed. @thebookfoundation

With the help of their incredible team of volunteers, they partner with established organizations to increase their outreach to children in need. Through their events, programs, and partnerships, they focus on deeply engaging children in order to ignite a passion for reading. Their approach includes word, financial, nutritional literacy and social and emotional intelligence in order to close the achievement gap.

They are located at the Emporium, which houses a group of mission-aligned non-profits that share resources to increase positive outcomes for foster and vulnerable children and youth. 

We had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Ruth Stalford, Founder and Executive Director.

Today’s Kid Hero, Kylee McCumber, founded Kylee’s Kare Kits for Kidz in 2012 at the young age of 10 after she noticed children eating breakfast in the school’s cafeteria. When she found out they didn’t have enough food to eat at home she knew she needed to do something to help them. She started with providing food for 10 children. Now 16 years old, Kylee’s program provides Kare Kits to 438 children every week. @KyleesKareKitsForKidz

Kylee has traveled to the Philippines, India, Dominican Republic and France.  She works part-time at Market Basket as well.

She made the journey to Mumbai, India as part of the Unilever Project Sunlight program to film a commercial to raise awareness about child hunger.  Along with awards and stories on national TV shows and networks, Kylee also visited Washington, D.C. where she received a citation from Congressman James McGovern.

Bruce Gale brings us today’s interview with Kylee.