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28.02.2009 Diaspora (USA)

Ghanaian Organization with Global Vision for Children’s Education

By Change 1 Child

Every second Monday of every month, public schools in New York City are receiving an extra boost.

This “boost” comes in the form of the dedicated, well-educated 70-member coalition that is the nonprofit organization, Change 1 Child. Twice per month the group offers reading assistance at public schools with the goal of enriching, motivating and helping disadvantaged children reach their full potential.

Following the group's latest visit, Diane Caban, a Brooklyn Principal, thanked the group, saying, “I just want to thank Change 1 Child for shaping the young lives they touch here through reading to our students - and enabling the children to read to themselves with the rich books provided.”

She continued, “Seeing professionals like the members of Change 1 Child taking time from work to demonstrate the love of literacy shows the children their possibilities.”

Change1Child encourages disadvantaged children to read to help them envision life beyond their current circumstances. Part of this is accomplished by providing the children with relatable reading materials. This year alone, 415 children in failing schools will receive a new book each month to start their own in-home libraries. The group aims to assist 80% of these students in improving their reading scores during the school year.

According to the group's founder, Simone Adjei, the organization was started to level the playing field for children living in disadvantaged communities who do not have access to the same resources as children who live in communities where the schools are better supported.

The nonprofit was spurred into existence by an article about several New York City Public Schools closing because the schools failed to reach standards set by the board of education. Change 1 Child was formed to help children in schools in need of improvement. Because illiteracy is directly linked to poverty, the group started a literacy initiative to encourage children in early childhood (grades PreK-3rd) to develop a love for reading so that it may elevate them out of poverty.

While the group's current efforts are local, its vision is worldwide. Change 1 Child has partnered with 2 orphanage in Ghana (Osu and Teshie) to support the children with reading materials, food and clothing on a monthly bases. Change 1 Child coordinator in Ghana, Mariam Nortey, will visit both orphanages twice a month to read to the children and distribute the materials.

Child labor is an additional concern of Change 1 Child, which they also see as being addressable through education. While the organization is unique in its process of distributing free reading materials to children in need, it is eager to work with organizations whose visions are similarly aligned.

The group is continuing to grow and membership is open to anyone sharing their vision. Some of the group's members even share their experiences on the group's shared blog.

“If just one child is enriched, encouraged and motivated to read more and develop a love for reading through this initiative, then we have done our job,” says Adjei.

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About Change 1 Child:
Change 1 Child's aim is to inspire a love of learning in children through reading so as to empower them to reach their full potential. For more information, visit http://www.change1child.org/

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