The number one question I get about MagazineLiteracy.org relates to the future of print magazines. In his interview with Samir Husni, Chris Johns, Editor in Chief of National Geographic makes a timeless and very powerful statement about how print magazines maximize real-time reader engagement – arguably more so than digital formats, which is just to say they are complimentary.
Added to the experience of relaxed, focused, distraction free enjoyment, the magazines we love are a compelling literacy resource for sharing enormous value with at-risk children and families who want to learn and love to read them.
Our focus areas, where we create the greatest human capital value, includes homeless school children, youth in mentoring programs where magazines strengthen bonds, teens and adults in job training programs, such culinary magazines for homeless men and women in chef training, families served by food pantries with few reading materials at home, programs that empower women and girls, and foster children separated from siblings, where a magazine can be an anchor for a child adrift from all that is familiar. We know that magazines are entertaining, educational, inspirational, and aspirational – so imagine a magazine in the hands, homes, and hearts of children and families hungry to read and to dream of better days.
Of course, we all know and recognize the iconic yellow border of National Geographic. For MagazineLiteracy.org, it is a golden border sought by mentoring programs everywhere – from those teaching children about boat building, water quality and ecology on the Hudson River to schools for children and families learning to read north of the Arctic Circle.
Speaking of Mr. Magazine, a long-time champion of MagazineLiteracy.org, one of our most compelling stories involves the “Magazine Lady” delivering bundles to children and families in a Boston shelter. A homeless boy who didn’t like to read was handed a magazine by our outreach volunteer, Katie Simmons. The next time she visited, he ran to meet her exclaiming, “the Magazine Lady is here!” The shelter reported that the boy was not only reading, but was now reading magazines to his sister. Now, that’s changing the world, one magazine at a time!