Books, Books, and More Books! Literacy Programs Bring Clubs Together

  • January 27, 2011

Books, Books, and More Books! Literacy Programs Bring Clubs Together

Quota International clubs around the world spearhead programs to give kids access to books. The We Share Foundation is proud to offer a look at some of the many literacy programs fueled by Quota’s community spirit.

Cops ‘n’ Kids

When former police officer Julia Burney (right) founded the Cops ‘n’ Kids literacy program in Racine, Wisconsin, the Quota club of Kenosha-Racine volunteered to help.

Bucks for Books in Eureka

The Eureka Quota club in California, U.S.A., focuses much of their service on the local library, which serves some 45,000 Humboldt County residents. The collaboration began when the club donated U.S.$2,000 for materials and equipment to benefit deaf and hard-of-hearing patrons, including a TTY Communication device, books about sign language and hearing health issues, a microphone, and speakers.

When the service committee learned of a need for more children’s books in the library, Quota’s Bucks for Books program was born. Volunteers put up a Tree of Knowledge in the facility and created ornaments bearing book titles to hang on its branches. Donors chose titles to give, dedicating volumes with inscriptions inside each cover, or simply offered non-specific cash gifts. The club augmented the community’s donations with a U.S.$1,500 gift from service funds for this ongoing effort.

Sharing Books throughout the Island

The Quota club of Curaçao met with tremendous success in a recent book drive, gathering over 2,500 new and used books from the community for distribution in local orphanages. The large number of books donated allowed Quota to share volumes with several institutions on the island, including the Kasa Manita and Villa Maria homes for children.

Quota volunteers hosted storytime, when they delivered the books at each orphanage. “Much to our surprise and delight,” noted club president Ingeborg Campman, “we realized that the children did not need a grownup to share a story. They were so excited at the sight of the many books that they started to share stories amongst themselves.”

Encouraging Readers in Victoria

Club President Lorraine Foenander, City of Banyule Councillor Sean Rawson, QI Heidelberg member Ann Oldmeadow, and children from Haig St Primary School.

Recognizing tremendous need for assistance at a local school filled with disadvantaged children, Quota International of Heidelberg, Victoria, initiated a reading program that inspired enthusiasm from the whole club. One member volunteered to work directly with students on reading once a week, while the rest of the club put talents to work to encourage the children to read. The result: individual Reader Bags for each kid!

The club raised Aus.$1,000 to buy books for the children. During a “working bee,” members created 100 calico book bags and inscribed each with “Quota Cares” in an upper corner. Children were encouraged to decorate their own bags with an original design and add their names.

Club members Jenny Pilgrim and Janice McGrath (Past Governor), and Club President Lorraine Foenander on the right.

While the children were delighted with their reader bags, club members were thrilled to discover their own hidden talents-from fund raising to publicity to sewing to organization. Club president Lorraine Foenander noted, “What an inspiring project with lots of fun, fellowship, and laughter! This is only the first project in an ongoing effort to help this school.”
Today, the Kenosha-Racine Quota club remains involved in Cops ‘n’ Kids. At the reading center (below), where local kids gather for reading, tutoring, and activities, Quota sponsors annual vision and hearing screenings. The group raises money for their programs with an annual sock hop for families. Since then, Quota clubs throughout the U.S. have joined in the effort to gather books in their communities for local police to distribute to kids in need.

Police officers in Kenosha-Racine distribute books donated by QI of Kenosah-Racine.

The 2005 Quotarian magazine featured the great Cops ‘n’ Kids work carried out by QI of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, which celebrated its success this past April with a banquet attended by many dignitaries including Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendall and then-Quota International President Nicôl Lea. The club’s success continues as they seek funding for a permanent literacy center for their community.

Quota International of Greenbrier County, West Virginia, incorporated a Cops ‘n’ Kids theme in their annual sell-out fund-raiser at the elegant Greenbrier Hotel in White Sulphur Springs. Guests, arriving with books to donate, found each table topped with a “snowman” in a police uniform amidst stacks of small books. The event proceeds of U.S.$8,000 allowed the Quota club to buy even more books for the five police departments involved in their project.

Quota International of Flint, Michigan, embraced Cops ‘n’ Kids and rallied support among four local police departments. The program offers police a chance for positive experiences with local kids in economically depressed areas as they distribute books from their patrol cars.

Quota International of Minneapolis, Minnesota, recently organized their new Cops ‘n’ Kids book distribution center. A successful local book drive and cash donation gave club members plenty of organizational work to do and a chance to help kids choose favorite books to take home.

Quota International of Waterloo, Iowa, partners with two local schools and a number of businesses to gather books for their program, launched in March 2004. Project chair Marsha Stroh said the police department’s enthusiasm inspires club members. “Their excitement about the positive interaction with youth in distributing the books is contagious! It makes Quota members want to work even harder to collect books,” she added.

Quotarians from Quota International of York, Pennsylvania, incorporated a Cops ‘n’ Kids service theme in their club’s efforts and collected books for their community’s first police-sponsored Neighborhood Center. Children will be given books to read, and those too young to read will hear the officer on duty read to them. The club continues to collect books.

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