EL PASO COMMUNITY FOUNDATION GRANTS 4,200 BOOKS TO NEWBORNS
First Steps to Reading is a pilot program of the El Paso Community Foundation. Its goal is to improve literacy rates in the El Paso community through ongoing, targeted interventions aimed at children and their parents. Through this program El Pasoand Juarez-born children receive high-quality, hardback books before leaving the hospital. “The El Paso Community Foundation is proud to provide access to literacy by building home libraries which encourage reading from birth to adulthood,” said Eric Pearson, president of the El Paso Community Foundation. Books will be distributed at Sierra Providence East Medical Center in El Paso and at Hospital de la Familia in Juarez.
In its first year, the program will provide 4,200 bilingual books purchased from and selected by Cinco Puntos Press. The colorful hardback books, written by Cynthia Weill, feature the folk art of Oaxaca, Mexico. “We are delighted to support this literacy program in its inception,” said Johnny Byrd, managing editor of Cinco Puntos Press. By several measures, El Paso lags behind the country in adult literacy rates. The National Assessment of Adult Literacy estimated that 36% of El Paso County residents lacked basic literacy skills in English. The state average is 23%. A separate study, America’s Most Literate Cities, ranks El Paso 69th out of 75 cities in the literacy resources that it affords its citizens.
The El Paso Community Foundation has granted $20,000 for First Steps to Reading, and encourages other funding partners—corporate or individual—to contribute. Donations may be made online at http://epcf.org or checks may be made out to the El Paso Community Foundation, PO Box 272, El Paso Texas, 79943-0272. Pleas include “First Steps to Reading” on the subject line. For more information, please call Julie Tarwater at the El Paso Community Foundation 915-533-4020.