Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Water Buffalo Club Supports Reading to Kids and Hears From Students Past & Present

Posted by Alexandra Babiarz, Literacy Coordinator & AmeriCorps VIP Fellow


Reading to Kids recently received a $15,000 grant from the Water Buffalo Club, a charitable club of Westside professionals—"big kids" dedicated to "helping little kids" in Los Angeles. Since 2007, their generous support has enabled us to continue our mission of inspiring children with a love of reading. 

Contributions like these help us make books more accessible to students at the seven elementary schools we partner with in L.A. Unified. Every month, Reading to Kids donates brand-new books to the thousands of students, parents and teachers who attend our reading clubs, as well as to our partner schools' libraries.

"At the reading clubs, every child is given a book to take home and keep forever," Managing Director Charlie Orchard told WBC members during a presentation he made at a charity selection meeting held in late April, where he was joined by Alejandra and Shawn, current students at Los Angeles Elementary, and Edgar Hernandez, a former student from Magnolia Elementary. Alejandra, Shawn and Edgar held up books they received from Reading to Kids.

"And I do mean forever," Charlie said, pointing to the books in Edgar's hands. At 13 years old, these books were two years older than Alejandra and Shawn.

"Before I started going to Reading to Kids, I didn’t have any books at home," Edgar said. "Reading to Kids gave me free books that I could read…. I still read [those books] to my brothers and sisters."

Currently a graduate student at California State University, Long Beach, Edgar now volunteers with Reading to Kids, reading aloud to a new generation of eager young readers at Magnolia Elementary.

Fourth graders Alejandra and Shawn have been attending the reading clubs since Kindergarten.

"I get to improve my reading, my friends go there, and I get to do activities and meet volunteers," Alejandra said. "And I get a lot of books!" She raised her favorite, Liberty: How the Revolutionary War Began.

"Reading to Kids was so influential," Edgar told WBC members. "As you heard from Alejandra and Shawn, it’s fun. And it gives them hope. Reading to Kids planted the seed in my head that I could go to college."

It's with the generosity of donors such as the Water Buffalo Club that Reading to Kids can continue to plant these seeds of hope for a brighter future throughout L.A. Thank you!

Interested in volunteering to read aloud to students? Learn more about our program here.