COMMUNITY HELPING HANDS

A big boost for literacy

brantin@thestate.comJune 9, 2013 

Volunteers from Cocky's Reading Express at USC read to children from St. Lawrence Place.

PHOTO COURTESY OF ST. LAWRENCE PLACE

— Efforts to improve literacy throughout the community, including programs for homeless children, recently received a big boost from Central Carolina Community Foundation.

The foundation has awarded $377,650 in Community Impact Grants targeted to literacy to seven Midlands nonprofit organizations. The grants, extending to 10 of the 11 counties within the foundation’s service area, are expected to provide literacy assistance for 17,000 children.

The funding marks the second stage of a three-year, $1 million commitment toward literacy by the foundation, which has $200,000 remaining in that commitment.

“This year we are pleased to award grants for a variety of innovative and collaborative programs,” said Central Carolina president and CEO JoAnn Turnquist. “The programs include home visitation programs that target hard-to-reach rural populations, childhood reading programs that are conducted in clinics and doctors’ offices, and one-on-one tutoring programs that take place in schools and libraries.”

St. Lawrence Place, a transitional homeless shelter, was among the agencies receiving grants. The agency received $50,000 for an after-school program and summer camp to serve homeless children ages 4-11 living at the shelter. All children in the program participate in educational and cultural field trips as well as on-site activities that emphasize literacy and school success.

“With the help of Central Carolina Community Foundation, our children will be given the support they need to grow academically during the summer, instead of falling back,” said Lila Anna Sauls, executive director of St. Lawrence Place. “Through a wide variety of field trips, activities and events, and with the help of committed community volunteers, our children will learn reading can actually be fun.”

Other 2013 Community Impact Grants recipients include:

•  USC Arnold School of Public Health/College of Mass Communications & Information Studies: $95,000 for “Get Ready to Read with Cocky,” a program that combines the Arnold School of Public Health pre-literacy Get Ready to Read program with Cocky’s Reading Express, a reading initiative of the USC School of Library and Information Science.

•  Palmetto Project: $49,000 for My First Books in the Midlands, an early childhood literacy initiative to increase the number of children entering kindergarten ready to learn.

•  Reach Out and Read: $65,000 for the School Readiness Initiative, Reach Out and Read that establishes a partnership between parents and medical providers to develop critical early reading skills in children as early as 6 months old.

•  Save The Children: $56,000 for Literacy and Pre-Literacy programs in Orangeburg County to increase school readiness and children reading at grade level in two rural areas.

•  Richland Library: $21,650 for The Whole Family: Reading Well, Being Well Together program that aims to improve school readiness for preschool children and families hindered by poverty.

•  United Way of the Midlands: $41,000 for the Ready, Read, Succeed Initiative, which seeks to develops at-risk children’s literacy by ensuring they are ready to learn when they enter public school, reading at grade level by third grade and succeeding upon their transition to middle school.

Central Carolina Community Foundation serves 11 Midlands counties by helping charitable individuals and businesses meet the needs of the community.

Reach Rantin at (803) 771-8306.

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