The Reading Action Program began in 2012 and became a 10-year commitment to increasing literacy rates around the world. Lions everywhere participate by donating books to local schools and libraries, reading to children, starting programs that encourage parents to read with their kids, and more. Thank you to Past District Governor Beverly Nichols of District 17-O in Kansas, USA, for sharing the information for today’s post on her district’s Reading Action Program book distribution efforts and results!
When Lions Clubs International announced the partnership with Scholastic, Inc. at the USA/Canada Lions Leadership Forum in Kansas last year, the Lions of District 17-O in northeast Kansas were delighted to be the recipients of a US$5,000 seed grant from LCIF for a Reading Action Program initiative in their district. The money was to go toward high quality books purchased at a reduced price from Scholastic.
In addition to providing books for children, the district’s Reading Action Program would help determine what kind of distribution process would be most effective.
Lions identified several venues for distributing books:
When selecting sites, the Lions looked for areas with high incidence of low income and a nearby Lions club that would support efforts, both through contributing additional funds and by providing a Lions’ presence at distribution events. Schools selected represented rural, urban and suburban locations.
The original grant of $5,000 was increased by almost 50% through contributions from local Lions Clubs, through district fund raisers, and from the Kansas Host Committee of the USA/Canada Lions Leadership Forum. With these funds, a total of 3,779 books were purchased and distributed.
Determining the most effective distribution process raised the question of just what is meant by “effective.” Is it providing the greatest impact on a single child? Or is it providing books to as many individual children as possible? Is it creating as much publicity as possible for the work of Lions in a given community?
All of these are worthwhile goals. However, nothing can match the excitement that is generated when a child is able to pick a book for his or her very own. Ultimately, it makes no difference if it is one book or several, in a school setting or after a vision screening.
The greatest impact on a single child occurred in a small school setting. The same dollar amount, when allocated to a small school and a larger one, means that children in the smaller school may receive multiple books rather than just one book per child. In smaller communities, local newspapers are likely to run stories and pictures about the event, and word of mouth is very effective in small towns.
The best venue for reaching the maximum number of children while building community recognition probably came in conjunction with vision screening. Each child gets a single book, but there may be more than one book given to a single household. Single copies of bargain books can be purchased from Scholastic at just a dollar each. This enables the purchase of many more books than books purchased in a collection. Collections provide a variety of books and are preferred by school personnel, as books can be selected to fit reading levels of students within a given class.
No matter which venue was used during book distributions in northeast Kansas, students receiving the books were excited to receive them. Lions involved in the process took great delight in seeing the reaction of students on the receiving end.
Learn more about the Reading Action Program. How does your club address literacy in your community?
Also in this issue:
In the Digital LION, watch a video about how a vision screening was a life-saver for a young girl, enjoy a club’s fun video celebrating its 50th anniversary and access several stories from the LION Vault about Lions’ super service decades ago.
Visit the LION Magazine page to contact editors, view past issues and listen to the audio version of the magazine.
Too many people suffer from poor eye health simply because they do not have access to the proper care. The Montreal Chinese Lions Club has been working to make eye care more accessible to people in Quebec. The Lions help fund an eye clinic run by the McGill University Health Centre, which provides free eye exams on an annual basis to people in need. The clinic aims to help these people from slipping through the cracks of the province’s healthcare system.
Watch the video above to learn more about the clinic. How does your Lions club help people in your community receive the eye care they need?
Check out how Lions around the world are making headlines by serving their communities.
Has your Lions club been featured in the local news recently? Share your story!
Earlier this week, I visited Lions in Taipei, Taiwan. I attended the opening of a new park in the community, including the unveiling of a beautiful Lions plaque. Lions have planted 500 new trees in the park, and have worked hard to ensure the new park is a space for everyone to enjoy.
Environmental projects are some of my favorite Lions activities — it’s always great to get out in the fresh air with friends and family to help protect our planet.
Thanks to the Lions in District 300G2 for a wonderful stay!
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