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March 2012 Key Club magazine

Granted wishes

How YOF grants changed three communities

Story by Jamie Moore 

A little bit of cash can go a long way, especially when you put it in the hands of an enthusiastic Key Club. Here’s how three clubs in Missouri, New Jersey and Texas used their Youth Opportunities Fund dollars to make a big difference in their towns. 

Project: Key to Literacy
Trenton High School Key Club
Trenton, Missouri
Awarded US$500 in 2010 

the problem Like most places, Missouri has struggled with slashed education budgets. In the small, impoverished town of Trenton, classroom libraries were stocked with few books and literacy rates were at risk of falling. 

the solution Pool together the $500 awarded by YOF with $500 the club raised to purchase 544 inexpensive books through Scholastic Inc. Every school day, club members go to the elementary school, read to children in the classrooms and leave books behind as a donation. “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” by Jeff Kinney is one of the kids’ favorites. 

the community impact “Reading scores have increased,” says faculty advisor and English teacher E’Lisha Gass. “We can’t attribute it entirely to this project, but we have noticed kids getting more excited about reading. Seeing older students as role models who encourage reading is paying off.”

now what?
The Trenton club received another $500 YOF grant to donate more books. The project has been so successful that the club has expanded its in-classroom readings to include two preschools. Members plan to host reading nights with preschool-age activities this April.

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