ECU non-profit working to fix literacy problem across North Carolina

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BETHEL, N.C. (WNCT) — East Carolina University honor students are sharing their love of reading with children in Eastern North Carolina. They have a non-profit group called “Bloom Box,” helping lower-income children improve their literacy.

“What is really shocking to us is that 61% of low-income students in the US, the wealthiest country in the world, grew up in a home without a single children’s book,” said group president Kelsey Woods

BLOOM stands for “Bridges to Literacy through Opportunity Outreach and Mentorship.” ECU honors students visit the Bethel Youth Activity Center three times a week to help kids with homework and to read with students. Woods says this is something they hope continues after they leave ECU.

“Something that’s really important about what we’re doing is showing individualized love and attention and support to each student, and we really are getting to know them and giving them a lot of love because if you’re not feeling love from people in your life then you’re not learning to read, that’s not your first priority,” said Woods.

The students say kids reading and owning books can give them confidence. It can also show them how people like them can achieve their dreams.

“I want to be able to help these kids and make it transfer to other parts of their life as well,” said Caitlin Fromm, a BLOOM member.

The group is working to make and distribute boxes filled with books and activities for children. Members hope children they help will start their own personal libraries.

“Selecting books they really care about and books where they can see their reflection in the main characters, we’re hoping to do that,” said Calli Jon Massengill, Team Coordinator. “So just seeing these kids learn to love reading and learn to read, that’s what I’m most hopeful for.”

BLOOM members plan to give out boxes the kids can decorate and make their own. Each box will be filled with books and activities for the students to take home.

If you would like to donate to their cause you can click here.

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