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Here’s the stark reality: Two-thirds of students who cannot read proficiently by the end of the fourth grade will end up in jail or on welfare. And, the Commission on Reading has found that introducing a child to books before starting school is the single most significant factor influencing their early educational success. So, books are essential. But, low-income neighborhoods have a severe lack of books. The ratio of books to children in these areas is one to 300. And, 61 percent of low-income homes do not have a single children’s book.
That’s where Bernie’s Book Bank is making a huge difference. The Lake Bluff-based non-profit collects, sorts, and distributes relevant and age-appropriate books to at-risk children across Chicagoland. Children receive 12 books per year, for 12 years, fostering the opportunity to create a life-long love of reading.
As books brighten up and enrich our lives, the Bernie’s signature lime green brightens up our black and white mural. It focuses on jarring statistics while contrasting them with the many opportunities presented by literacy. Designed to catch the eye and draw attention to the issue, it reminds us that with books, comes hope and possibility.
Our mural is a call for commuters and passersby to take notice of these numbers and reflect on the change our community needs. It’s a hard problem to face, but Bernie’s is tackling it head on, having distributed more than 10 million books since it was founded in 2009.
Books tell us a story, let our imaginations run wild, teach us about history, help us learn a new craft, and allow us to look to the future with hope. The long-term impact books make on children leads them to countless opportunities and open doors: college degrees, a love of the arts, a career in science, and much, much more. Books give us a better life.
As a long-time supporter of Bernie’s Book Bank, we’re proud to highlight our partnership and bring awareness to this organization. With Bernie’s leading our community in change, we can all work together to support our kids and give them the foundation they need to lead a successful life. To learn more about Bernie’s Book Bank, how to donate, and how to volunteer, please visit www.berniesbookbank.org.