Reading Council Gives Gift of Literacy

Happy to help eliminate illiteracy, volunteers posted for a group shot.

Happy to help eliminate illiteracy, volunteers posted for a group shot.

“I am elated by the enormous support and opportunities that our youth and their parents, teachers and neighbors are gaining today,” said Yvette Grant, coordinator of the Brooklyn Reading Council’s (BRC) fifth annual International Literacy Day Project, celebrated in the Spring Creek Towers (SCT) community on September 8. “This is a win-win experience where children and adults are sharing an excitement and joy for books.”

Dozens of readers of all ages sifted through books piled onto several tables stationed in front of the Professional Center in the SCT shopping center.

Volunteers from BRC, the National Sorority of Phi Delta Kappa, Inc. /Theta Chapter and the Popular Literary Club, gave away approximately 2,000 free books along with bookmarks, pamphlets about literacy, resources for writing, parenting tips and teacher materials to anyone who asked.

On her way to picking up her daughters at nearby P.S. 346, Samari Perry saw a crowd of people perusing tables loaded with books. After getting her two children, she went to see what was going on. “This is amazing,” said the very pleased mother after selecting several books, which were free for the taking.  Perry, 26, said she and her husband encourage reading. Employed, they work full time but make the time to take their children to the library and book stores. “Reading is so fundamental. Your imagination can take you anywhere.  A brain is a waste if you don’t use it,” she said.

For the past five years, BRC has held this enormous book giveaway in the community. The event is a part of its groundbreaking campaign, International Literacy Day, which was created in 1967 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to spread awareness for the importance of literacy and education. This year’s theme is “Literacy and Sustainable Development” which emphasizes how literacy increases one’s ability to make decisions regarding a person’s economic and social development.

BRC volunteer Benny Brinson, a retired Fraternity, participated in International Literacy Day because, he said, “I want children to read more, and to have parents more involved in teaching them the importance of literacy.”

Seven-year-old Saryah Mackins availed herself of Brinson’s volunteer services. She could not decide what book she wanted to take home. Recognizing her dilemma, he asked what sort of books she likes, and she replied “stuff about animals and mysteries.”  He selected several books that matched her interest. The second grader picked a book about Humpback whales that she happily accepted and immediately showed off to her mother standing at her side.

“[It’s] hard to describe but each individual plays an integral role in the tremendous success we achieve trying to eradicate illiteracy,” said Grant as she expressed her gratefulness for the work of all the volunteers.  She also thanked SCT’s Offfice of Public Affairs/Communications and Starrett City Tenants Association (SCTA) for their annual assistance with holding the event.

BRC’s International Literacy Day volunteers were happy that lots of people received books that day. “What an incredible way to reenergize our actions to advance literacy and show our dedication to provide education for all,” said Grant who is already thinking about next year’s celebration.

By: Amanda Moses