$1.15 Million Grant from the Walmart Foundation Gives 100 Boys & Girls Clubs a "Bright Spot" Reading Room
ATLANTA, April 14, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In recognition of National Library Week (April 10-16) and Support Teen Literature Day (April 14), Boys & Girls Clubs of America announces the expansion of its reading initiative that promotes both educational and leisure reading for tweens and teens through a $1.15 million grant from the Walmart Foundation. The Bright Spot for Reading initiative will be added to 100 Boys & Girls Clubs across the U.S. to create a dedicated reading center for members.
According to the 2009 Reading Report Card, only 33 percent of fourth graders are reading proficiently and 17 percent of low-income fourth-grade students are reading well. By the eighth grade, the reading proficiency rate drops to 32 percent for all students and 16 percent for low-income eighth-grade students.
The Walmart Foundation previously funded BGCA with $1.4 million for Bright Spot for Reading initiatives at 100 Clubs in the U.S. Since that time, it's estimated that more than 6,000 young people are actively reading in Bright Spots and 40 percent of Clubs have seen an increase in teen participation. The new $1.15 million grant will expand the Walmart Foundation's Bright Spot for Reading initiative to include an additional 100 Bright Spots at Clubs across the U.S.
"The Walmart Foundation's Bright Spot for Reading initiative will help improve youth literacy skills and prepare them for academic success," continued Judith J. Pickens, senior vice president of Program & Youth Development Services, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, "We are grateful to the Walmart Foundation for the opportunity to create an environment that will positively impact the future of our youth and allow them to enjoy and develop an affinity for lifelong reading."
"At Walmart, we believe education is critical to the lives and success of our nation's youth," said Margaret McKenna, president of the Walmart Foundation. "We're proud to provide the opportunity for more teens to use the Bright Spot reading rooms to grow, learn and excel at school, at home and at Clubs across America."
The Bright Spot Reading Centers will feature books targeting young people ages 11 to 15, including programs to encourage Boys & Girls Club members to read more and develop a positive attitude toward reading. The centers will offer activities in drama, art and technology; field trips and service learning projects to integrate reading opportunities into every area of the Club.
In addition to the Bright Spot Reading Centers, Boys & Girls Clubs of America's teen website www.myclubmylife.com will continue to serve as a resource for Clubs to promote the reading initiative; highlight age-appropriate books and book reviews; and encourage tweens and teens to read more and share their reading experiences with others. Local Boys & Girls Clubs will also strengthen existing and develop new relationships with local libraries to enhance programs and services.
About Boys & Girls Clubs of America
For more than 100 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (www.bgca.org) has changed and saved lives, enabling young people to achieve great futures as productive, caring, responsible citizens. Today, some 4,000 Boys & Girls Clubs serve some 4 million children and teens through Club membership and community outreach. Clubs are located in neighborhoods throughout the country and on U.S. military installations worldwide, providing an extensive array of youth development programs conducted by trained, professional staff. Key programs emphasize academic success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles. In a Harris Survey of alumni, 57 percent said the Club saved their lives. National headquarters are located in Atlanta.
About Philanthropy at Walmart
Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are proud to support initiatives that are helping people live better around the globe. In May 2010, Walmart and its Foundation made a historic pledge of $2 billion through 2015 to fight hunger in the U.S. The Walmart Foundation also supports education, workforce development, environmental sustainability, and health and wellness initiatives. To learn more, visit www.walmartfoundation.org.
About National Library Week
First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country each April. It is a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation's libraries and librarians and to promote library use and support. All types of libraries - school, public, academic and special - participate.