For the past two years, the Spark Foundation has built relationships with school administrators, teachers, and local businesses with two goals in mind: to grow the home libraries of students who attend Des Moines public schools and live in under-served populations, and to provide increased exposure to books featuring characters that are as diverse as their communities.
That’s why it is with great pride that I announce a new Spark milestone. To date and with your support, we have distributed more than 5,500 books to Des Moines area students. We achieved this by hosting numerous “Love to Read” no-cost book fairs, holding classroom reading sessions with community volunteers, providing Scholastic gift certificates students could redeem at their school book fairs, distributing specially selected, Spark-approved books in classrooms and mailed directly to students. This is a huge milestone, and while we are proud of the relationships we’ve formed and the progress we have made in our first two years of operation, we know the need for physical books that celebrate diversity and promote reading is higher than ever.
We are in the process of setting our next milestone goal, and will announce that in the coming months. The COVID-19 pandemic means that many students will be learning virtually this year, with no regular access to their school or even public libraries. This increases the need for our organization to step up and fill that gap, giving students more access to books and contributing to their personal libraries at home. We look forward to serving the students of Des Moines Public Schools and expanding our program to additional schools over the 2020 school year.
As always, none of this would be possible without the support of the community, grants from local businesses and national corporations, and especially donations from individuals who believe in our mission. We thank you for your support, and look forward to continuing our work together to promote children’s literacy. If you’re interested in getting involved or making a donation, visit https://www.sparkfndn.org/getinvolved.
Akil Clark Spark Foundation