The following piece was written by Julie Newburg about the concept of communities working together. Thank you Julie and Marc. There was a real spirit of “community building community”, when The REAL Program, a literacy-based afterschool program for children from the Bricket School in Lynn, made decorations for the Shul’s Sukkah. Before they embarked on their artistic adventure, the children learned about the importance of welcoming the fall bounty, and welcoming guests into the home, from Shul Co-President Marc Winer.
The REAL Program started last Monday with a beautiful group of children and volunteers. We range in ages, backgrounds and traditions but we all share a common goal of providing quality educational experiences for our children and making this world a better place. On Tuesday, Harold (from the 50 year old story of Harold and the Purple Crayon), attended a community service fair at Endicott College. Yesterday, Harold accompanied some children, moms and teachers to the LYNN PLUNGE hosted by Gordon College's Lynn liaison, Val Buchanan. Happy Fall Everyone!
A few weeks ago I received an email asking if
I wanted to be on the board of the REAL program in Lynn, Massachusetts. The
person who sent the email was a friend of mine (our children went to school
together).We had also shared time on a
committee during those years so I knew her to be a tireless worker for a number
of good causes.I said yes to the
invitation, without hesitation, for a couple of reasons. The first was that the
program was based in Lynn. Though I technically grew up in Revere (just over
the General Edwards Bridge) I spent much of my young life in the city of
Lynn.In those days you could find me
playing basketball at the YMCA on Market Street, or going shopping with my
mother in Central Square, or sneaking behind the fence of the Drive In on the
Lynnway to watch the movies for free. To this day I still have friends from
Lynn and still have a great affinity with the city.
The second reason
I was so eager to help with this program was its mission. The REAL program is
about helping kids to read who have limited resources available to them. Why is
this so important? “You're going to hate
the answer, less than 15% of Americans read books on (a) regular basis.” (http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_percentage_of_population_reads_books)
I teach at Salem
State University and I’m often giving my students statistics that support the
reading problem that is growing in this country. “Be the 15 percent,” I urge
“Here are some
additional surprising statistics.
*1/3 of high
school graduates never read another book for the rest of their lives.
*42 percent of college graduates never read another book after college.
*80 percent of U.S. families did not buy or read a book last year.
*70 percent of U.S. adults have not been in a bookstore in the last five years.
*57 percent of new books are not read to completion. Over half of those are not
read past page18” (Wiki.answers).
By helping REAL to
distribute books and encourage reading in young children, I am essentially
putting my money where my mouth is. I can look that next class of Salem State
students in the eye and know that, in some small way, I may be helping to create
the adult readers of tomorrow.
I am grateful for
being asked to contribute and I look forward to the responsibility.