This is the second of a series of posts about Safe Home Safe’s CSR by Jake Murray, Vice President of Operations and leader of our employee-driven SafeHomeCARES initiative. Follow along our journey of building stronger communities.

True, National Reading Month came and went. But that shouldn’t stop any of us from continuing to embrace its essence.

Besides, we’d all agree that rules are sometimes worth breaking — especially when it concerns a child’s access to learning.

And that happened to be the case on Wednesday when we delivered books to Carnevale Elementary School students in Rhode Island’s capital city. This was all made possible through working with an amazing local organization called Books Are Wings.

Books Are Wings

This is a tiny nonprofit with a huge purpose: putting free books in the hands of children.

Our culture at Safe Home Safe centers around learning, teaching, and growing. And this needs to be alive — inside out, head to toe among our 500+ employees. After looking into it, Books Are Wings’ tremendous work and focus on empowerment immediately caught our attention.

Later, we discovered that we shared something else in common: we both officially began our work in 2003(a random fun fact).

A totally relevant fact that we should all know is that children who read at home have higher chances of doing better in school. For more on child literacy, the National Education Association nicely bullets it all out here.

Sadly, huge disparities exist. And they’re pretty upsetting. According to one study, two-thirds of kids in America are incapable of reading at grade level by the 4th grade. Research shows that this leads to poor school performance in later years.

Helping 1 Is Enough, But 400 Is Better

We knew we had to do something. Thankfully, Books Are Wings coordinators Jocelyn White and Kim Nelson showed us how — helping us directly connect 400 kids with books.

Jocelyn and Kim inspired us to run a two-week book drive in March. A huge box in our lobby served as a daily visual reminder for employees to get involved.

Dozens of books later, the next step was to deliver them. A big thank you goes out to Safe Home Safe’s Cindy Miranda, Jaime Lee Bunton, and Nathan Brown for making this happen.

This was much more than a drop-off, too. The trio took the time to help the students choose books to take home with them. During the process, happiness and excitement filled the air. I was told that some kids were even in shock because they couldn’t believe all of those books were for them, and for free!

Cindy, Jaime Lee, and Nathan had their hands full with the students — helping out with the book selection process. Requests ranged from books about Spiderman to ones by Dr. Seuss. A picture book on sign language also ended up in the hands of a student with autism who’s learning this form of manual communication to enhance his ability to connect with others.

An elementary school is just one of the many places that Books Are Wings helps. Others include early learning centers and local libraries, as well as Boys & Girls Clubs throughout Rhode Island.

This incredible experience is part of the Book Party Program — a way for Books Are Wings to reach children from low-income families, a group that experiences the largest gaps in reading. To do something and help, go here.

At Safe Home Safe, a focus on people in need especially touched our hearts because we’re always looking for ways to help. However we can. For instance, we donate clothes and toys to kids every year during the holidays.

A Special Thanks to Our Partners

This all wouldn’t have been possible without the passion and commitment from certain individuals. One is Michelle Durrance, Carnevale Elementary School’s English Arts Language Reading Coach — who coordinated this experience.

Last but not least — on behalf of our family at Safe Home Safe — I’d like to once again salute Jocelyn White and Kim Nelson. We truly admire your unrelenting commitment to motivate children to learn through reading.

Thanks for allowing us to be part of your mission at Books Are Wings!