Arden Recommends: Volunteering

Poverty. Of adults with the lowest literacy levels, 43 percent live in poverty, and 70% of adult welfare recipients have low literacy levels. There is a clear correlation between more education and higher earnings, and between higher educational scores and higher earnings.Adult Literacy Facts

img_9693-jpgI first became aware of how low literacy cripples a person in 2004 when I began volunteering for an organization called Charlotte Reads.

I later became the director of this organization. Through it, I helped bring awareness of how important literacy is to a community’s overall health for years.

Many folks reached out to me for ways to plug into the effort. One of those people was Tonia Lyon. At the time, she worked at WBTV and volunteered for an up-and-coming church called Elevation.

She and I sat down at a local bookstore, she shared her story, the story of Elevation, and asked if Charlotte Reads would be willing to accept a donation from the church.

I said, “Of course!”

I didn’t realize to what I agreed. Within months I was at table with the leader of this church, Steven Furtick, and hearing his vision for giving to the Charlotte community. A few months after that I stood on a stage and accepted a check from the church on behalf of Charlotte Reads. I remember leaving the service early (I had to rush back to my home church because I was serving on the pastor search committee at the time) and thinking… that was pretty cool. I hope they make it.

Elevation Church is now one of the fastest growing churches in the world and Pastor Steven Furtick’s vision has led to million upon millions accepting Jesus as their Savior and constantly volunteering their time to communities across our nation.

You’d think, with the vastness of this church, there would be little time for the little guy; or little school as it were. But, Tonia and her beating heart of compassion wants to impact one school to help its students increase their reading levels. To be fair, her leadership impacts millions, but for some reason it’s the seemingly simpleness of this project that has captured my heart.

And I want it to capture yours too. I’d like to invite any of you who can, to serve as a volunteer for Blakeney READS.

Blakeney READS is an Elevation Outreach initiative to help Quail Hollow Middle School students succeed. More than 400 students at the Title One school in South Charlotte are behind in reading comprehension. Without support, these students are more likely to fail in other subjects like math, history, and science. Volunteers get paired up with a student serve just one hour per week for 14-weeks.

Please consider volunteering. Please share this post. In the coming months, I hope to find additional ways for us to support Blakeney READS. In the meantime, if you cannot volunteer your time, but would like to donate to it, please click here and I’ll make sure all the money gets to the church.

Let’s make Arden’s Book Club more than a great place to get book reviews for our own reading pleasure. Let’s be people of action and ensure all who want to read, can read.

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