Local reading program provides free books to homeless students at North Thurston Public Schools


Proposed by North Thurston Public Schools

SSummer reading is now a reality for over 250 homeless students in North Thurston Public Schools thanks to the donation of over 760 free books and school supplies from the REACH for Literacy program!

Photo courtesy: North Thurston Public Schools

“Reading is the gateway to success for these children,” said Barbara Clarkson, community activist and church member who led a $ 2,000 grant application from the Pacific Northwest Conference of The United Methodist Church.

Members of the Clarkson congregation at the St. Andrew United Methodist Church also raised nearly $ 4,700 to complete the grant. They then worked with the South Sound Reading Foundation purchase a wide variety of age and culture appropriate titles.

“Thanks to the grant, we have been able to purchase over 760 books for students of various backgrounds,” said Jennifer Williamson Forster. “Students want to read books about people who are like them or who share similar backgrounds. “

North Thurston 4 Public School REACH Program
Photo courtesy: North Thurston Public Schools

Clarkson, Williamson Forster and St. Andrew’s Pastor Denise Roberts dropped off a set of book bags, provided by South Puget Sound Community College, To Lydia Hawk Elementary by wagon in June. Students in 18 primary and secondary schools received at least 3 new books, in addition to summer activities and supplies. “It really is a gift for these students,” said Brenda McAferty, the homeless liaison for NTPS. “I wish I could be there to see their faces when they look inside!” “

In addition to the book bags, St. Andrew’s Church will be hosting the REACH program again this summer, providing free literacy and life skills to students in Grades 1-5. The program will take place August 2 to 19, Monday to Thursday, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Classes will be held at the church: 5409 School Street in Lacey (near Lydia Hawk Elementary).

Contact 360.491.2030 for more information about the program or to volunteer!

“We can help students with math, phonetics and reading comprehension, giving them an extra boost before school starts,” Clarkson said. “We know that reading improves all life choices for humans, especially our youngest learners! “

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