Dr. Barbara Swaby of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs has devoted her life to promoting literacy. She is an award-winning scholar whose efforts have drawn national as well as international acclaim. You can read about her outstanding achievements on her UCCS website, but it doesn't mention that she is also the founder of the Literacy for All Children Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides bags of books to children of lower income families. Building the home libraries of thousands of children in Colorado Springs is a monumental task, but Dr. Swaby has been working on this project since 2006, and she is succeeding!
It all started when Katrina hit New Orleans, and more than 500 families were relocated to Colorado Springs. Since these families had lost their homes and possessions, they certainly had lost any children’s books they may have owned. Realizing this need, Dr. Swaby started the Literacy for All Children Initiative, and within three months each of these children was given a backpack with 15-20 books as well as some school supplies.
The program was a tremendous success, but Dr Swaby had just gotten started. Opening the program up to include all children in the area who qualify for the free or reduced school lunch program, Dr. Swaby’s program grew. Since its start, the foundation has placed 65,000 books in 6500 book bags into the hands of children who might otherwise have very few, if any, books of their own.
The most recent donation was to Pueblo’s Beulah Heights Elementary School where 309 students received bags of 9-12 books. Time is always taken to make sure the books match the reading level, as well as the gender, of each child. For Beulah Heights, that meant sorting through 4,500 books!
Books are all donated by many different groups and individuals, including Boy Scouts working on their Eagle Scout project. Explorer Elementary School in Colorado Springs has been donating books since the program started, and Borders and Wal-Mart have started to make regular contributions as well.
If you want to become part of this wonderful project to promote literacy, you too can donate books, school supplies or funds to the Literacy for All Children Foundation. Lightly-used or new books can be dropped off (or picked up) if you call 719-255-4091. Donations (books, school supplies or funds) may also be mailed to Literacy for All Children Foundation, 1533 Cragin Road, Colorado Springs, CO 80920. (Please write out any checks to Achieving Vision.)
- Currently the greatest need is for books at the Pre-school to 2nd Grade level.