WNBA promotes literacy in a variety of ways on the international, national, and local level. Brief descriptions of WNBA’s organization-wide and chapter-based initiatives are provided.
U.S. Fund for UNICEF
As a proactive UN DPI/NGO since 1959, WNBA’s national focus is on the U.S. Fund for UNICEF–and by extension, UNICEF itself. This decision makes sense considering the efforts of WNBA’s former DPI/NGO representative Claire Friedland during preparations for the International Year of the Child Conference in 1978. It is ratified by WNBA’s current emphasis on children’s and YA literacy.
Known as the “citizens’ voice” for UNICEF in the United States, the mission of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF is “to promote the survival, protection, and development of all children worldwide through fundraising, advocacy, and education.” Most familiarly, it supports UNICEF by selling greeting cards and gift products, and by encouraging children (and adults!) to “Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF” in October (National UNICEF Month), and supports other fund-raising efforts throughout the year.
The U. S. Fund keeps Americans informed about the abhorrent conditions facing the world’s children; urges Congress to support “children-first” programs; and raises awareness among youth through school and campus visits, and educational materials for teachers.
Library of Congress Reading Promotion Partners
WNBA is a Reading Promotion Partner with The Center for the Book at the Library of Congress (www.loc.gov/loc/cfbook). The Center for the Book was established in 1977 to use the resources and prestige of the Library of Congress to promote books, reading, libraries, and literacy.
Within the Library, the Center is a focal point for celebrating the legacy of books and the printed word. Outside the Library, the Center works closely with other organizations, such as WNBA, to foster understanding of the vital role of books, reading, libraries and literacy in society.
Now numbering more than 95, the Center’s Reading Promotion Partners are mostly national or international organizations that promote books, reading, literacy or libraries. To review the full list of Partners, visit www.read.gov/cfb/programs/
Read Across America
Since 1997 NEA’s Read Across America Day has been generating enthusiasm for reading nationwide and focusing the country’s attention on how important it is to motivate children to read in addition to helping them master basic skills. The 2.7 million members of the National Education Association are committed to advancing the cause of public education and driving home the message that reading is important and fun! Reading opens the doors to achievement, and Read Across America Day celebrations “whether large or small” are crucial building blocks toward making the joys of reading an integral part of every child’s life.
At www.nea.org/readacross you’ll find national, state and local contacts, program information, book lists, games, event ideas and an electronic version of the Read Across America Resource Kit to help you plan for the March 2nd annual festivities and to get involved in year-round reading fun in your community.
WNBA Chapter Initiatives
The Boston chapter of the Women’s National Book Association’s Teen Literacy Outreach Project provides books and writing supplies to adolescents in group homes, shelters, and detention centers in the greater-Boston area. Since the program’s inception in 1999, we have focused primarily on building a library for the Metro Center, a Massachusetts Department of Youth Services detention center for males and females from 12- to 19-years old.
The Charlotte chapter partners with First Books- Charlotte. Their website is: http://www.firstbookcharlotte.org/
The Los Angeles chapter’s literacy partner is IWOSC (Independent Writers Of Southern California), whose President is Flo Selfman, an entertainment/literary/arts public relations consultant and proofreader/copy editor. Flo was IWOSC president from 2003-2006 and 2007-2808; currently serving her fifth term, 2008-2009. She has been an IWOSC member since 1990, and has served on the Board since 1991, holding many board positions including Vice President, Director of Membership, and Director of Marketing. She is a resident of Los Angeles’s Westside. You can learn more about her at her website, wordsalamode.com.
Contact: (323) 653-4555
The Nashville chapter and its members support many local and regional literacy programs, including BOOK ‘EM!, Reading Is Fundamental (RIF), the Nashville Adult Literacy Council, NashvilleREADs, and others.
The Nashville Chapter also contributes to scholarships for the Young Writers Workshop, a program organized by Humanities Tennessee.
The New York City Chapter of WNBA has been actively involved since the mid-1990s to help promote reading and literacy throughout the city. Whether acting as individual tutors or guest speakers, or by donating books and other educational materials, members of the chapter have sustained a lively, ongoing dialogue about reading and writing skills with those who represent schools, tutorial programs, and community groups.
The chapter has focused on providing private tutors to the East Harlem Tutorial Program (EHTP), which services 450 students (K-12) annually throughout New York City. With the help of the Children’s Book Council (www.cbcbooks.org), the chapter was also able to donate hundreds of books to the EHTP library.
WNBA’s Washington chapter supports literacy in the Washington, DC area. We partner with The Reading Connection (www.thereadingconnection.org), a literacy outreach program that provides books and readers to children in at-risk situations: homeless and domestic abuse shelters, and transitional housing. A child’s weekly contact with a reading volunteer may be the most stable, consistent element of her/his life.