Whether it's a youngster discovering the joys of Dr. Seuss, a teenager studying world history or an adult surfing the Internet, it all begins with the ability to read. Through reading, one can learn and experience life more fully. If one cannot read, doors of opportunity will remain closed.
The ability for individuals to open doors of opportunity is why Mayor Sheila Brillson has initiated action to assist in improving Michigan City's overall literacy levels.
"I have been an avid reader for as long as I can remember," Mayor Brillson said. "From The little Engine That Could, to Grimm's Fairy Tales, and The Adventures of Nancy Drew, books have always been my friends. As mayor, supporting improved education remains one of my key goals for our city. Our community will prosper through better literacy-for everyone from school-aged children to adults. By actively promoting the benefits of reading and literacy for all, we can ensure that our children and our neighbors will be able to open the doors of opportunity. The ever-expanding information-based world gives us no other choice."
Regarding an overall vision to improve literacy, Mayor Brillson said in an open letter to the community:
"We must have the community's full support to get results, and I am proud to report that many partners have already committed to a comprehensive and coordinated effort. Everyone is impacted by the need for greater literacy in our community, and we are reaching out to all partners through our Literacy Task Force.
The involvement of local businesses, organizations, religious groups, and individuals is necessary to achieve results.
Did you know that there are children who enter our schools and don't know their address or how to hold a book? Those are sad but true facts about the current status of literacy in our community and, in fact, in cities and towns across America.
Former Secretary of Education William J. Bennett said in the April 24, 2001 issue of Wall Street Journal, "...37% of our fourth-graders are unable to read on a basic level while only 8% can read on an advanced level." He went on to say, "Parents must introduce their children to great stories, inculcating a love for books. Children who read for fun every day score 10% higher on the National Assessment of Educational Progress tests than students who never or hardly ever read."
Like other cities which struggle with the problem of literacy, Michigan City's future workforce is at risk. Many families cannot afford to purchase books for their children. By donating books to today's children, we help to ensure the viability of our community in the years to come.
We are determined to make a difference! Won't you join us! Thank you for participating in this city-wide campaign to improve literacy.
There are many ways in which you can participate in the city-wide initiative to bring literacy to all our residents. Some ideas to consider:
- Offer to read a children's story at Channel 99 or WEFM radio for public broadcasting.
- Invite Larry the Lighthouse to meet some of your employees and their children at a company event and talk briefly about literacy.
- Participate in any of the activities already planned to address literacy issues in Michigan City.
- Call the Michigan City Public Library at 219-873-3045 or the Mayor's Office at 219-873-1400 for information.
- One of the best ways to help address literacy issues in our community, though, is to donate books. The primary donation site is the YMCA, but the Westside Neighborhood Computer Resource Center, the Eastside Neighborhood Center, the Mayor's Office, the News-Dispatch, and the Public Library will all happily accept donations.
- Sponsor a book donation contest within your company or your neighborhood.
- Sponsor a neighborhood book reading club, helping people of all ages to read.
Book donations are needed in the following age groups:Ages 0-3
Books for adults - all genres
When you donate books, please feel free to put a small label inside the front cover of each book that says:
"This book was donated to the
Michigan City Literacy Campaign by ________________."
Here are just a few of the many activities, throughout Michigan City, to help support the literacy campaign.
|Michigan City Area Schools:
||Adding student assessments, teacher enrichment, and curriculum expansion.
|Michigan City Public Library:
||New Literacy Center actively promotes literacy education; sponsors book drop for Michigan City's literacy campaign.
|The LaPorte Literacy Coalition's adult literacy program is a cooperative educational endeavor of the LaPorte community (clubs and churches, individuals, business, social services), the LaPorte County Public Library, Portage Adult Education and the Indiana Adult Literacy Coalition. A Literacy Speakers Bureau is available to inform your group about adult literacy as a local and national issue. To schedule a speaker, phone 219-326-5318.
|Hours For Ours:
||Mentoring program through Michigan City Chamber of Commerce has shown to improve student's attendance, self confidence, and personal skills, and to decrease use of illegal drugs and alcohol as well as aggressive behavior. Contact Hours for Ours at 219-873-2000 Ext. 366.
||Tutors are always in need for adults as well as for children. Call the Michigan City Area Schools at 219-873-2000 to volunteer to tutor children. To volunteer as a tutor for adults, call the Michigan City Public Library's Literacy Center at 219-873-3043.
|Five Books for Fries:
||Michigan City area McDonald's will reward kids with an order of fries for every 5 books they read or have their parents read to them. Contact the Youth Services Department at the Michigan City Public Library at 219-873-3045 for details.
||The YMCA will accept new or gently used books for children or adults of all ages. For more information, call 219-872-9622
If you know someone who also might be willing to help, please share that information with us in the "Comments" box in our online support form.
To view the campaign's overview presentation, please click here.