This is a big weekend coming up, not just with Thanksgiving and Black Friday, but also Small Business Saturday and Cyber… er, I mean, CYBORG Monday. But before we all get swept up in holiday shopping and festivities (and all the many Lunar Chronicles announcements we’re going to make next week…), I wanted to write about the day that captures the feel of the holidays much more than any cheaply-priced flat-screen TV ever could…
If you’re not familiar with Giving Tuesday, it’s joined the annual Thanksgiving weekend line-up as the day in which people all over the world are encouraged to volunteer their time or money in support of a cause that’s important to them. Of course there are a BILLION different charities and organizations that one can choose to support, but I thought I’d take this chance to highlight some of my personal favorite literacy-based organizations for my fellow book lovers.
REACH OUT AND READ
This clever organization works directly with pediatricians in order to supply age-appropriate books to their young patients, and include family-reading time as a part of their overall health and development plan. For many children who benefit from this program, the book(s) they receive from their doctor are the only books they own.
Through the use of a “book bank,” this fantastic program uses a network of educators and community leaders to provide books, educational resources, and even some basic necessities (such as band-aids) to children in under-served communities, with the overall goal of reducing educational inequality for children in impoverished areas.
Yes, yes, NaNoWriMo is an awesome annual motivator to push us writers into gear, but they are also responsible for the Young Writers Program, which reaches over 80,000 students and educators through special programming and free classroom kits, helping them develop their writing skills and nourish their creativity.
If you’re the type of giver that prefers to keep it local (fair enough!), here are some ideas for supporting your own community:
Your local library: Libraries are more than just places to check out free books (though that is, of course, an awesome service) – they also tend to be community spaces that host year-round events, from author visits to children’s story times, but they often require funding above what they receive from the government to accomplish their goals.
Prisons & Detention Centers: Illiteracy and a lack of education go hand in hand with crime rates. Many prisons and detention centers host educational programming for their inmates and/or book clubs to encourage reading and open discussion. Such programs can go a long way toward helping inmates connect with the outside world and avoid re-offending once they’re released.
Schools & Hospitals: If you’re not able to donate financially but have a stack of books lying around that you’d like to find good homes for, try asking your local schools or hospitals. Many are eager to have fresh reading material for their libraries.
Want more information on charitable giving? CharityNavigator.org is an excellent resource for finding causes that speak to your heart.
I hope that gives you some ideas for next Tuesday… or any time of year, for that matter…
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!