Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation Celebrates Milestone [VIDEO]

barbara bush houston literacy foundation

OnScene TV The Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation celebrated a milestone on December 10, 2021.

The Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation celebrated a major milestone on December 10, 2021, handing out its 100,000th home library. The organization named for the late first lady from Texas visited the Scarborough Elementary School to surprise students. The foundation has now given more than 600,000 books to Houston students as part of an effort worth more than $3 million.

According to its website, the foundation was started by the Bush family “to improve the quality of lives through the power of literacy. The Foundation advocates for literacy as a fundamental right for everyone and views literacy as a necessary skill to achieve individual, family, and community success. It is founded on the belief held by former First Lady Barbara Bush: ‘If you help a person to read, then their opportunities in life will be endless.'”

The foundation said in a press release, “Scarborough Elementary School is one of 34 schools across HISD and Spring Branch ISD whose students will be receiving home libraries just in time for the holidays. More than 14,500 students will benefit from My Home Library, bringing the total number of students served since the program’s inception to more than 100,000.” A total of 620 students at the school received 3,720 books for their home libraries, the organization said.

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The Home Libraries Help Empower Students Through Encouraging Book Ownership, the Foundation Says

According to a press release, “This gift marks a $3 million investment in the My Home Library program since inception in 2017. To commemorate the milestone, Foundation Chairman Neil Bush, Scarborough Elementary School Principal Miriam Medina and HISD Superintendent Mr. Millard House II, will host a reading celebration at the school where every one of the 620 students will also receive My Home Libraries.”

The release added, “The Foundation’s My Home Library program aims to empower children to become competent and confident life-long readers through book ownership. Research is conclusive the that the number of books a child has access to in his or her home is positively related to their reading achievement level.”

The literacy program said in its press release, “The Foundation, with financial contributions from the philanthropic and corporate sectors and members of the Houston community and strong partnerships with area school districts, has worked diligently over the past four years to close the gap in book access for underserved, economically disadvantaged students through the My Home Library program.”

‘This Is Really Important Because a Lot of Kids Don’t Have Access to Books at Home’

Kime Smith, the director of strategic partnerships for the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation said during the event at the elementary school, “My Home Library is a program that gives kids access to books at home. We’ve served 100,000 kids in the Houston area. … We selected this school because we just love our school leaders. We really can’t do this without our schools. And Principal (Miriam) Medina has been super supportive of the program. Students who have attended this campus for all four years have received as many as 24 books.”

Smith said students go to an online portal to select six books they want to read. “This is really important because a lot of kids don’t have access to books at home. And every day the messaging from Ms. Medina and her teachers and staff to students is, ‘Go home and ready 20 minutes a day.’ Unfortunately, some kids don’t have books to go home and read. So that is why we established the My Home Library program so kids will be able to have books they can take home.”

She added, “Not only books they can take home but that they chose they can take home.” According to Smith, students who choose the books they want are more likely to “read them, finish them and became readers for pleasure.”

HISD Superintendent Millard House said, “We know that literacy is the gold star in reference to students moving forward and having success. And the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation has contributed at a level that will make a major, lasting difference to students in Houston. … Books are really the north star to what happens for the rest of their lives quite frankly. Building the love for reading and having a library inside the home makes a major difference.”