Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.
When I was in third grade I discovered a series of biographies in the school library. Each volume featured a famous person’s childhood. Those books were inspiring to an eight year old imagining future celebrity. But there was a down side too, the authors focused on early childhood trials giving this impressionable reader the idea that to become famous for doing great good, one must endure some horrible tragedy like the death of a parent. While I don’t remember much more about the books except that they were all light blue, the dilemma and fear I experienced are still quite vivid.
Happily for most of us, as we age, the craving for adulation recedes while the desire to do good increases. On the flip side, grown-ups feel stress when isolation or daily drudgery squeezes out the opportunity to express our profound goodness.
The spring 2018 issue of YES! Magazine offers advice for living a long happy life. One of the most intriguing ideas involves decreasing stress by cultivating a sense of purpose in the community. “We are social beings; we need to reduce collective stress by supporting each other.”
Meaningful work is healthful, “Knowing your purpose adds up to seven years of life expectancy.” The beneficial effects radiate beyond the individual, “Social change begins to happen when as little as 10 percent of a population changes its thinking.”
Finding a common goal to work toward together is one way that supporters of Children’s Reading Alliance are taking care of themselves while they care for our community. Test scores in Doña Ana County reveal a slight improvement in reading achievement this year. That is a hopeful sign. It is also a reflection of all of the attention so many of you are giving to the educational challenges facing our children. There is a lot to be done and very many people are working on solutions at every level.
Our challenge for the next few months will be to keep kids reading during the summer. Leisure time reading is the single most impactful way for our children to continue making gains. When school is not in session the children who read for enjoyment are practicing their skills and will be ready to pick up where they left off when school resumes in August. Children who do not read during the summer will need the first two months of school to recapture the growth they achieved before school ended in May.
Motivating all children to read and providing books to children who have none are CRA’s immediate goals as spring turns to summer. After providing 9,000 books last summer, CRA inventory is currently quite low. To meet the needs for this summer we must raise $45,000 in the next three months.
Thankfully, many of you are finding ways to help. Today I would like to feature three new groups that support the next generation of readers.
When longtime members of Mesilla Valley Riders, a motorcycle club, decided to disband they thought long and hard about how to spend their remaining treasury. Their members contacted CRA to purchase quality children’s books.
Realtors know the value of well-educated neighborhoods. The Las Cruces Association of Realtors sees the advantages of funding books and reading.
Sometimes a painful loss leads to action for the greater good. Barbara Finger loved teaching and was well-loved by her students. When she died unexpectedly In December, her family and friends wanted to honor her in a way that would celebrate her life. They are making contributions in her name so that CRA can continue her work.
We are happy to help you, your club, company, or organization pay it forward in whatever way works best. If you would like to honor someone with your contribution we can send a personal note, tell your story on social media, or make a presentation to your group.
A five dollar contribution will purchase a book for a child and support the work of the Children’s Reading Alliance. You can mail contributions to CRA at 3880 Foothills Road, Las Cruces, NM 88011, visit our website: childrensreadingalliance.org, or call us at 575 522 3713.