$15,720 towards “Books for Keeps” Program
Grant Secured by Keri Gage | UBS Financial Services
Why did you become involved with this organization?
“I was born and raised in the vicinity. I love my city, but Memphis has one of the highest poverty rates in the nation. More than 44% of children in Memphis live in poverty. I’ve always been involved with literacy and a friend introduced me to ARISE2Read. I love their model—volunteers go in weekly to spend 30 minutes with second graders, teaching them sight words. Our goal is to teach as many sight words as possible and then we test them at the end of the year.”
What is the grant for and how will it benefit the community?
The grant will be used to purchase books in our “Books for Keeps” program, which serves 500 students in Shelby County, Tenn., 98% of whom are students of color. Every year, ARISE2Read distributes books for students to take home at Christmas, in February during Black History Month and at the end of the school year. Access to books is critical for students to practice reading but, more importantly, to fall in love with reading because every career requires the ability to read. ARISE2Read books always include a mix of fiction and nonfiction, integrating diverse characters, as well as famous people to bring awareness to different careers.
“Shelby County is the only all-virtual district in the state and it’s also the poorest district with the biggest need. We want to make sure these kids have a backpack of books filled with things that they can do and learn on their own.”