Meet Karma for Cara microgrant recipient Jordan (17) from California. Jordan is carrying the torch for his older sister, past microgrant recipient Mackenzie, who founded 501c3 nonprofit Code Read and now attends college. The mission of Code Read is to provide recreational books to elementary and middle school students in low income communities—but it is more than that!
Code Read has a specific and organized approach to working with schools. To create excitement & enthusiasm for reading books, Code Read starts with a kickoff assembly at the school where one of the CR youth staff volunteers speaks to students about the importance of reading & encourages them to work hard to earn their books.
Students then receive award charts & work to achieve goals set by their teachers. The goals are completely individualized for each student (one child’s goal may be to complete homework; another child’s goal may be to read for 20 minutes/day outside of school). Goals are always realistic, and the purpose of the reward system is for the child to feel like they have truly earned the books they later choose. Six to eight weeks after the kickoff, Code Read returns to school to host a free book fair which includes every child in the school. After the fair, Code Read distributes a survey to teachers to measure the effect of Code Read on students’ interest in reading & literacy level.
The newest arm for Code Read is working with children in transitional housing and foster care, and it was for this purpose that Jordan used the K4C microgrant. The focus is to get free books in the hands of youth who need them the most! It is not uncommon for the foster children Code Read has worked with to report that no children’s book exist in their homes.
- What inspired you to start this project? I was inspired by my sister, Mackenzie, who founded Code Read in 2016. It is hard to imagine that thousands of kids do not have access to books at home. Children in low income homes are at a disadvantage when it comes to literacy.
- Other than you, how many student volunteers participated in your service project? 11
- Other than you, how many adult volunteers participated in your service project? 10
- How many hours did you spend on your project? 45
- How many hours did other volunteers spend on your project? 200
- How many individuals were affected by your project? 4000
- During the time period between when you applied for a K4C microgrant & when you completed the project, what surprised you? I am always surprised by how excited children are to receive new books. For many of the children that we serve, a new book is considered a luxury.
- Overall what did you learn from this experience? I learned that I have to power to create change, even though I am just one person.
- How will your project continue having an impact in the future? Code Read will continue to serve as a 501c3. My little sister, Madelyn, has stepped up to help run Code Read while Mackenzie and I are away at college. This has been a learning experience for my whole family. We hope to continue to grow as a nonprofit and expand to include multiple states.
- How was the K4C microgrant helpful in the completion of your project? With help from K4C, we were able purchase hundreds of new books and book bags for underserved youth. It is very validating to have the support of such an amazing organization. Thank you for believing in Code Read.