Elegant Island Living December 2021

Page 66

Great Books, Great Impact


ocal mom turned child literacy advocate, Jen Tacbas, had a childhood surrounded by books in her home and episodes of Reading Rainbow on TV. Flash forward to 2019, when her daughter, Logan, came home from school and reported some of her 1st grade classmates didn’t have many books in their homes. Jen immediately began purchasing one book each month for her daughter’s classmates, and a beautiful new mission was born. The national child literacy statistics aren’t much of a fairytale. 61% of homes in low-income neighborhoods do not contain a single age-appropriate book for their children. Considering kids continually need new books to keep advancing their reading skills, books become an investment, one not every family can afford. Another national statistic offers a guiding light: the number of books in a child’s home correlates significantly with higher reading scores and a greater enjoyment of reading and academics. Jen knew if she could increase the number of books local children had at home, she could positively impact their lives.



During the last school year, with the help of friends and family, Jen expanded her mission from purchasing books for 15 students to supporting 100 children in 2 grades. Then in April, Jen felt a strong calling to establish her child literacy 501(c)(3) nonprofit, Great Books for Kids, Inc. Jen opts to donate engaging books not typically found in chain stores. One book donated in October was Ludwig the Sea Dog, a 3-D hardcover storybook with special glasses. Jen believes high-quality books matter when attempting to capture the attention of even the most reluctant readers. The positive impact of Great Books for Kids has already been reported by principals and teachers with whom Jen works to distribute the books to students. The children are always excited to receive their new books and immediately begin reading. Currently, Great Books for Kids is serving 500 children in lower-income areas of southeast Georgia.

While there have been challenges at every turn – from securing continual funding to purchasing/shipping delays and shortages – Jen’s goal remains to continually expand the number of children she serves. You can support Great Books for Kids’ child literacy mission by visiting their website at greatbooksforkids.org or by mailing a donation check to Great Books for Kids, Inc., 398 Blue Heron Trl, Waverly, GA 31565. Together, our community can continue to positively impact the lives of our children, one book at a time.

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