Love Letters for Literacy

A Peacemaking Project by Jordan G.

What is the injustice we are solving?

Love Letters for Literacy seeks to promote childhood literacy by enabling children to have fun while learning the letters of the alphabet.

Our Compassionate Solution:

To solve this injustice of Educational Inequality
we will address Childhood Literacy
by teaching children to learn their letters of the alphabet in a fun and engaging way!

Our Project Plan:

Goals

  • To engage families in the process of teaching their children the letters of the alphabet and how to read.
  • To recruit volunteers across the country to join us by creating Love Letters for Literacy packets to distribute in under-served communities.
  • To spread Love Letters for Literacy across the country, and even the world!

We will increase my / our compassion by...

To overcome the disparity among pre school children learning the building blocks to read, we will address the lack of educational resources that underserved children possess by providing them with handmade colorful and fun literacy packets. I will increase my compassion by seeking feedback from the teachers and families with young children to understand their obstacles to promoting literacy in underserved communities. I will discuss with the teachers how they think I can better connect with families so that they can play these educational games with their children at home.

How will you show courage?

I will show courage by managing groups of volunteers of all ages, including adults, to work with me to create the packets and visit schools to implement this project. I will also show courage by speaking to groups of children to teach them about my project.

How will you collaborate with others?

I will collaborate with others in many ways: 1. I will work with volunteers of all ages to create the packets, including children, teens, college students, adults, and the special needs community. 2. I will work with volunteers from service organizations to play Love Letters for Literacy games with under-served children. 3. I will collaborate with principals and administrators from schools and libraries where I will bring my project. 4. I will also collaborate with Bags of Books (www.bagsofbooks.org) to provide a bag full of books to children who receive my Love Letters for Literacy packets. 5. I will also collaborate with a non-profit which operates abroad in Bosnia and wants to bring this project to orphans in that country.

How will you know you are moving in the right direction? (What are specific ways you can measure your impact?)

I will know I am moving in the right direction when I: 1. obtain feedback from the students that they enjoyed the presentation and were excited to take home the packets to share with their families. 2. hear from teachers and administrators that the students and families used the packets and it helped them learn to read. 3. am invited back to schools to work with more children.

Key Steps

  • I already created a website, www.lovelettersliteracy.org.
  • I already have an active Facebook page . LoveLettersLiteracyProject
  • I will continue to recruit more volunteers across the country to make Love Letters packets. We are currently operating in several states and have run a program in Fiji as well.
  • I will continue to find schools who would like me to bring Love Letters to their students.
  • I will continue to work with libraries and schools to create family literacy events.

Reflection:

How did the project deepen your team's understanding of the injustice?

By working with team members in different countries and across the United States, I have learned that childhood literacy spans the world. I also learned that each team that is helping us bring Love Letters to their community adapts the curriculum to suit the needs of the affected children. Without access to a educational equality, children are hindered in becoming successful citizens and students...and face an uphill battle.

How did your community change as a result of your project?

My project puts literacy packets in the hands of the families of young children who live in lower income communities. We provide them with the tools to make learning the alphabet fun! We have received thank you notes from families and teachers that let us know the difference Love Letters makes! I received a citation from the Camden County Literacy Workforce Board recognizing our work for the difference we have made in one of the counties in the United States with the lowest incomes and highest rates of illiteracy. We have been invited back to the Head Start classrooms to continue to work with their children.

How many people were impacted by your project?

1400

Explain how you came up with the number of people impacted by the project?

Each child who receives a packet which includes games to play, a hand written letter from a volunteer, and 26 alphabet hand made cards is counted as one person.

How did your team learn more about the people affected by the injustice?

Our team members around the world and in the United States visit the classrooms and orphanages where our target audience is to meet them children who are affected by the injustice. When I attend family literacy events where I donate Love Letters packets I meet the families as well.

What did your team learn?

We learned that even young children with ideas can make a difference when they try! When I founded this project at 10 years old I never imagined in 5 years I would have been able to help so many other children learn to read as well as inspire so many volunteers of all ages to join my cause!

What challenges did your team overcome?

Overcoming the cost of obtaining the paper and markers needed to carryout the project. We also had to figure out how to translate the curriculum into all the languages needed where we now operate.

How have you involved others in designing, carrying out, or expanding this project?

Yes! We have volunteers of all ages who have helped. Our Love Letters volunteers include Wharton college students who have used their business skills to provide us with advice to expand the project. We also have volunteers who have brought our templates to their communities to help children in many places including a small rural village in Fiji, an orphanage in Bosnia, a refugee center in Toronto, a nursery school for children exposed to abuse in Philadelphia, etc.

What advice would you give to someone starting a peacemaking project?

Just do it! Any one of any age can make a difference if they try. You won't know what an impact you can have until you go for it.

Our Updates:

Expansion of Love Letters for Literacy

Jordan G. 28 June 2019 21:56 The last few months have been a time for us to expand upon the foundation we have been building for the past five years since the inception of Love Letters for Literacy. In particular, we have plans in place to increase our reach to 11 states and a total of 11 countries by this fall. We have had local events, national events, and international events during the past few months that have all contributed to promoting early childhood literacy and empowering families/guardians to have the tools needed to teach their children to read! Some recent activity includes the implementation. of Love Letters into the curriculum of a graduation education program in Florida, we have added two Canada high school students to our list of Global Ambassadors, Circle K college service clubs across the state of Pennsylvania performing Love Letters events at their meetings and conventions, participation by companies in making Love Letters as part of their social compact for good, young children from 2nd grade through 8th grade taking on Love Letters as a community service project, commitments by various college organizations across the country to start making Love Letters packets at their fall meetings, being invited for the second year in a row to be a client of Wharton students at the University of Pennsylvania to obtain advice about expansion efforts, bringing Love Letters to our first Head Start classrooms, and preparing our Global Ambassador to Eastern Europe to bring Love Letters to 8 countries this summer spreading childhood literacy to orphans and special needs children.

Comments:

Fish S. Peace First Staff
13 April 2018 23:06

Jordan, thanks for posting your project! I'm glad you're working to improve educational equity. My name is Fish and I'm a member of the Peace First team. Fun fact...I studied to be a Kindergarten teacher! So literacy issues are really important (and exciting!) to me :)

As part of this process, the Peace First team will give you feedback at different stages of your project -- and I wanted to drop by to give some feedback on your compassionate insight! I think your insight is a really good start. Educational Inequality is a serious injustice, and childhood literacy is definitely a root cause. (I love that you cite Hart & Risley's research about the word gap on your site!) I'd encourage you to go another layer deeper -- what are some of the root causes of the literacy gap? Having conversations with folks who study this issue could help you come up with some great insights here.

I'm most interested in the last part of your insight. How did you choose to focus on teaching the letters of the alphabet? It seems from your site like you've been working with folks at a local university to design your curriculum -- I'd love to learn more about those conversations! What have they suggested about how to give kids a good foundation for literacy?

Really interested to hear your thoughts on this. I'm inspired by your commitment to educational equity -- and how hard you work to make reading a joyful act! How can we help with your project?  

Amani A. Peace First Staff
11 April 2018 11:27

Thanks for sharing your project with us, Jordan.

I would strongly encourage you to spend some time working on understanding the issue that you are trying to solve and the root causes of this issue. It would be useful to talk to other people in your community and try to understand their perspective of this issue or other people who are trying to solve the same issue or/and people who are already working to solve this. This will enrich your project in lots of ways! Also, use the problem and solution tree to discover the root causes and consequences of your chosen injustice and it will guide you to more solutions. Here are some resources on how to do that: https://www.peacefirst.org/understand-through-compassion

Please make sure to re-write your project goal by using our SMART tool here: https://www.peacefirst.org/resource/plan-1-smart-goals

Also, please make sure to fill the "We will increase my / our compassion by..." section.

I noticed that you requested a mini-grant, but I would encourage you to work more on your project. Please leave us a comment or send us an email once you do the changes.

Thanks again for sharing your project with Peace First members, and we are looking forward to your next steps of the project!

Please let us know if you need any help with this!  

Adrian B.
5 April 2018 15:25

Hi Jordan,

We wanted to let you know that we are extending the deadline for active projects to apply for a Mini-Grant during this Peace First Challenge to April 15th. You can apply for a mini-grant anytime, but meeting the Challenge deadlines will make you eligible for additional opportunities.

If you do not require a mini-grant to complete your project, you can remain eligible by completing your project and Reflection before the May 31st deadline! If you submit your project plan by April 15th, we'll be sure to provide you with feedback by April 21st to support you with carrying out the plan.

If you are still in early stages of planning, you are also welcome to apply for a mini-grant at a later date -- although you may not be eligible for some of our larger opportunities, the opportunity for funding and support is always there.

Please let me know if you have any questions, and if we can help in any way!

Best,
Adrian  

RaulPF C.
2 March 2018 16:07

Hi, Jordan!
Thanks so much for posting your project!
It sounds like a very creative way to promote literacy.
It would be great if you used our toolkit to help you refine the injustice you want to work on so that you can come up with a compassionate insight that will help you put a plan together. You can find the toolkit here: https://www.peacefirst.org/resource/peacemaker-manual
We look forward to hearing more from you and to seeing how we can help you!
Raul  

Fish S. Peace First Staff
3 April 2019 7:40

Hey Jordan! This is Fish. I've approved your Plan - you're ready to go.

I know you've been running LLL for a long time, and it sounds like you have your model of family literacy events and school partnerships down. Still, let us know how we can help.

I'm curious how you're tracking your impact thus far. Do you have evaluations that you use - or could you use data from students' classrooms - to identify the measurable impact your curriculum is having? Literacy is an important issue with so many people working on it -- you want to be able to show that your strategy works!

Here's a tool from Peace First Fellow Ryan, who runs an awesome literacy program, on building evaluations and tracking progress:
https://www.peacefirst.org/resource/action-ryans-guide-evaluation

Really excited to see what you build. Let us know how we can help you!  

Fish S. Peace First Staff
13 April 2019 20:30

Hey Jordan! I noticed you hadn't submitted your mini-grant application yet and wanted to check in. We really believe on what you're working on, we think your plan is great, and we're ready to support it with a grant of up to $250 -- so send in your mini-grant application as soon as you can!  

Jordan G.
14 April 2019 15:22

Thank you so much for all of your support! We are thrilled with the recent expansion of Love Letters for Literacy. We will be visiting several more countries this summer including Armenia, Croatia, Bulgaria, and Kosovo - adding to the work we have already done in Fiji, Canada and Bosnia! We also recently formed partnerships with students on several college campuses in various states around the country. We would love to apply for the mini-grant but would like some guidance on how to do that. Thanks again for your encouragement!  

Andrea C. Peace First Staff
16 April 2019 9:21

Hi Jordan,

All you have to do is to visit your dashboard here https://www.peacefirst.org/project/15794/dashboard

Once you see your dashboard, scroll down until you find Phase 3: Make a Plan, and click the step "Apply for a Mini-Grant."

You need to answer the questions below the text "Please answer the following questions to confirm your eligibility to apply for a mini-grant:" and click the blue button "Submit Plan"

Please let me know if you have additional questions. I am here to help!

--
Andrea  

Julian N.
5 July 2019 12:43

Hi Jordan.
It's indeed owesome to see that you care about children in your community to this extent ..

My name is Julian, am a peace first digital mentor

And am truely amazed with how much your working to ease children's life as you work to simplify their daily educational cirricuralum and above all creating plafforms for growing the relationship between parents and their children while using your product.

Thanks so much for revealing your campassionate and choosing peace first to be part of your project.

We wish to see more updates on this project .
Best
Julian  

Mojisola O.
7 July 2019 17:45

Hello Jordan.

I am really impressed by your project and particularly the number of people you impacted. Education is really important and thank you for breaking the barrier of inequality underprivileged children are facing in education

My name is Mojisola, Peace First digital mentor and I sincerely congratulates you and your team.

keep the fire burning and keep overcoming.