Over the past three years, the Lower School has made and sold goods at their Holiday Craft Bazaar for Room to Read. Kindergartners work with their Third Grade buddies to make cookie mix. First Graders bake and decorate their famous Gingerbread Cookies. Second Graders make bird themed items, such as bird feeders and bird houses. Third Graders sew fleece hats, draw and publish greeting cards and gift tags, shape and glaze clay ornaments, and craft jingle-bell wreaths.
When we gear up for these projects, we tell the children about the motto of Room to Read: “World Change Starts with Educated Children.” We discuss how hard it would be to learn to read if your parents were illiterate. We think about the challenge of a school without books written in the language that you speak. We imagine living in a place where girls do not go to school. We think about how we could change the world by educating children. Then we set about trying to raise funds so that children in the developing world can have access to libraries containing books published in their native languages.
Room to Read hires local authors and artists who write the first native-language children’s books ever published in countries like Nepal, Bangladesh, Zambia, and Sri Lanka. They work with local communities to build schools and libraries and help train the teachers and librarians who will teach the children to read. Parents and other villagers put sweat equity into building, ensuring that the community will maintain the project.
On Monday, Feb. 11, Third Grade teachers Amy Krumich and Claire Nichols drove into Washington DC to attend the book-launch of Creating Room to Read. Founder John Wood’s presentation focused on the mission of educating girls who impact future generations’ knowledge, health, and wealth. As they presented their check to local representative Craig Herb, they knew that the Lower School’s efforts are making a difference.
Over 3 years, we have raised $7,845. Enough to build a library, publish two new books, and educate a teacher and a librarian. Or to put 7,845 books in the hands of children. We look forward to next year.