Access to Books for Under-Resourced Kids
A Peacemaking Project by Riley G.
What is the injustice we are solving?
About 2 miles from my home is the Ravenswood School District where 44% of the children are homeless, 65% are English language learners and 87% are considered low income. As a result of these challenges, performance in this district significantly lags neighboring districts. These are children with hopes and dreams who need an education to fulfill their potential. One of their biggest obstacles is below grade-level literacy rates. I would love to give these kids more access to books in order to improve literacy rates and encourage reading. Studies show that kids who own their own books stay in school longer and have a greater love for learning.
Our Compassionate Solution:
To solve this injustice of Inequity in Education
we will address Literacy rates
by Getting more books in the hands of under-resourced youth
Our Project Plan:
- I would like to set up a "little library" in front of several of the schools where kids can take free books. This will be especially important during summer months when the kids do not have access to school libraries.
- I will get book donations to fill the "little library"
We will increase my / our compassion by...
Working to create equity in educational resources.
How will you show courage?
I will show courage by building a "little library". I have never built anything like this before so it will definitely be something that will challenge me.
How will you collaborate with others?
I will collaborate with others in several ways: - I will contact the school or schools to see if we can place a little library in front of their gates - I will reach out to neighbors and friends to collect - I may ask friends to help me build and decorate the little library
How will you know you are moving in the right direction? (What are specific ways you can measure your impact?)
I will check the library monthly to see if kids are taking the books and I will also refill the books. I will also check with the school(s) to gather feedback and make sure the program is a success.
How did the project deepen your team's understanding of the injustice?
After going through the steps to create the mini-libraries, we realized how important it was to create a resource for children to have access to books. We understood the injustice more deeply through our project because it made us realize how much children are lacking access to literary sources.
How did your community change as a result of your project?
Our community changed because children were able to gain access to books as a result of my project. They could use the free libraries during the summer or on the weekends when their schools were closed and it was not safe to go to a local library.
How many people were impacted by your project?
Explain how you came up with the number of people impacted by the project?
The free libraries are available to all children - anyone can use books from the library. So, I estimated that about 400 people benefitted from these libraries based on the location of the little libraries and how long they have been around.
How did your team learn more about the people affected by the injustice?
We learned more about the people affected by the injustice because we realized that these people are not given the basic right of having access to free books. It is important for these children to have this resource because without books, children are less motivated to go to school, and they enjoy school less, leading to a high dropout rate and affecting their future.
What did your team learn?
I learned the importance of having books, and how easy it is to make a change in our community. Such a large impact can be made if everyone takes the time to help those around them.
What challenges did your team overcome?
One challenge was finding places for our little libraries. I overcame this by continuing to reach out to local schools and areas to find a location to place our product.
How have you involved others in designing, carrying out, or expanding this project?
I have involved local schools in the placement of the little libraries, so that many schools can have their own free library. Also, I have used my community's resources to collect books from them, and they too feel like they are involved and making a difference.
What advice would you give to someone starting a peacemaking project?
My advice would be to have confidence in yourself, because if you have a project and you put your mind into finishing it, you will be successful and create a huge impact.