Grants promote love of reading

Erin Chandler | Oct 07, 2022
Two young girls browse the Scholastic book fair hosted by the Kiwanis Club of Clinton Valley, Michigan. Photo courtesy of the Kiwanis Club of Clinton Valley’s Facebook page.

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Kiwanis clubs got creative in continuing to promote the Kiwanis cause of education and literacy. Now, grants from the Kiwanis Children’s Fund are helping these clubs take their literacy projects to the next level, bringing more books into children’s homes and stories into public gathering spaces. Extending education outside the classroom will turn thousands of children into lifelong learners.  
The Kiwanis Children’s Fund makes grants that improve the lives of children around the world. We do this by identifying the projects that create a continuum of impact in a child’s life — one that spans their entire childhood and sets them up for a bright future. By funding projects that target the Kiwanis causes of health and nutrition, education and literacy, and youth leadership development, whether through a Kiwanis Club’s local service project or through a club’s partner, the Children’s Fund ensures that its grantmaking has the greatest possible impact.  
If you are interested in extending your and your club’s impact beyond your community by giving to the Children’s Fund or applying for a club grant, visit the Kiwanis Children’s Fund page.  
A good book in the great outdoors  
A club grant from the Kiwanis Children’s Fund will help the Kiwanis Club of Mission Viejo in California maintain and expand a project they started when the COVID-19 pandemic made indoor reading events for local children impossible. The club teamed up with the Mission Viejo Library to launch their StoryWalk project, a sign installation that displays a storybook page-by-page along a walking path. It’s hoped that the project will get thousands of kids outside, enjoying stories together with their families and friends. Books will be switched out three times a year and rotate among city parks. The Children’s Fund grant will help to pay for the book rights and materials for new book stations, as well as a book giveaway at each new installation launch.  
Family literacy goes online  
The Kiwanis Club of Rancho Cordova, California, will continue its Book Buddies Family Literacy Initiative and expand it into the digital realm thanks to a grant from the Kiwanis Children’s Fund. The club began distributing free books and bookmarks with the goal of helping kids maintain their reading abilities during the COVID-19 lockdown. They now plan to further their project by including a URL in each book leading to a webpage of family literacy tools, including tips and videos describing how to create a culture of reading at home. Club grant funds will go toward both physical books and online materials for 3,000 children in the Rancho Cordova community.  
A book fair for everyone  
A Kiwanis Children’s Fund grant will allow the Kiwanis Club of Clinton Valley, Michigan, to continue its five-year partnership with Scholastic Books to bring the joy of the Scholastic Book Fair to underserved elementary school children who might not otherwise be able to purchase their own books. The club sets up book fairs at one or two local elementary schools each year and invites students to choose two books each to take home for free. Clinton Valley club members hope that having books at home will help prevent these children from losing reading skills over the summer and falling behind their classmates.  
Making reading an event  
The Kiwanis Club of Appleton-Fox Cities in Michigan has already won the bronze award among clubs with 28 or more members in the Kiwanis International Signature Project Contest. Now they will improve upon their award-winning project of bringing police officers to read to local children with the help of a Kiwanis Children’s Fund grant. Funds from the club grant will go toward additional entertainment and treats for the hundreds of children who gather at the Long Cheng Marketplace for readings. Club members hope that offering snacks or pizza and sponsoring entertainers like dancers and magicians will bring more children from the local Hmong community to the events, where they will also develop their love of literacy and trust in local law enforcement.  
A book vending machine  
A grant from the Kiwanis Children’s Fund will help the Kiwanis Club of Charlevoix, Michigan, install a book vending machine at a local elementary school. Through good behavior and good citizenship, kids will earn golden tokens for the vending machine, which will be stocked by the club. Every student in the school will also receive a book through the “Student of the Week” program.


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