With words worth a thousand pictures, we’ve hit on a powerful means to connect our literacy champions to the vast web of need and possibilities in every community across the U.S. by setting up their own Magazine Literacy Bee blog space on our MagazineLiteracy.org web site.
Magazine Literacy Bees are volunteers and groups of volunteers who organize MagazineLiteracy.org projects in their own communities, so that children and families can learn and love to read. Information about these wonderful projects is shared in the Magazine Literacy Bee blog in their own words so others can learn, step-by-step, how to organize similar efforts in their own communities.
Our first entry is by a kindergarten teacher in San Francisco who is organizing his class of students to set up a KinderHarvest magazine collection effort for children in a nearby homeless shelter. When I read the heartfelt entry, I felt, “Wow! We’ve struck a chord at the core of personal and community values that marries a love for magazines to a love for children and families learning to read.” There will be thousands more entries to come, by grassroots bloggers from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and from the Gulf to the Great Lakes.
I know now, after many years of very hard work and tens of thousands of children and families reached, that we’ve unleashed an energy that is unstoppable and will sweep like the rising sun across the U.S. landscape. We’ve kept the flame burning and reached this point of critical mass by the faith, support, and inspiration of many special magazine literacy champions.
Our greatest challenge and responsibility is reaching the thousands of people who want to support literacy needs in their own communities – to inform and engage this massive universe of literacy change agents who then organize local literacy programs, and sponsor the needs of teachers and other literacy agents. We are able to achieve great success in magazine delivery by leveraging many advanced social networking and other Web 2.0 technologies. For example, in addition to our online content management systems, blogs, and online forms, we leverage the Flickr photo sharing site to spotlight wonderful literacy events. We have begun Facebook, LinkedIn, Second Life (MagazineLiteracy Kidd), and MySpace pages to broaden our audience. We are exploring the value of digital versions of print magazines in terms of increased access and literacy. We’ve been invited to speak on podcasts and will continue to reach out to these and other web media outlets to grow awareness and participation in our community based literacy efforts. We also leverage online, community fundraising tools, such as ChipIn, Fundable, and Network for Good, so that groups can join together to pool their support for literacy needs. Our Kids Magazine Airlift program is a first-ever program where consumers can purchase magazine gifts online at publisher web sites for at-risk children and families in their community or across the country. MagazineLiteracy.org supplies the mailing addresses of early learning and after-school mentoring programs, foster group homes, homeless and domestic violence shelters, and other literacy programs. All of this work is made possible by the volunteers who connect to MagazineLiteracy.org via VolunteerMatch, Craigslist, and other web tools.
An illiterate person is unable to read a cereal box, a job application, or web page. So ours is a campaign where print magazines meet the web and together achieve even greater possibilities in our effort the find and feed children and families hungry to read and succeed. Join us.