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Grow a Reader Virtual Book Drive


It’s a staggering statistic — nearly 2 out of 3 children in low-income Arizona communities do not have a single children's book to call their own. But that’s the need that must be addressed in Arizona communities to help improve literacy among young children.

Southwest Human Development is launching its annual Grow A Reader Virtual Book Drive this May to provide essential literacy resources to young children in need and fill this critical gap.

The Grow A Reader initiative aims to address the disparity in access to books among children in low-income communities. By purchasing books for donation through the organization's online shopping cart, donors not only contribute to improving early literacy rates but also help instill a lifelong love for reading in children who may not have had access to books otherwise.

"When you purchase books for donation from our online shopping cart, you're planting the seed to help a child develop a lifelong love for reading," said Jake Adams, Chief Development Officer at Southwest Human Development, the state’s largest nonprofit working in early childhood education and literacy. “You are more than an early literacy advocate — you are a life changer.”

The Grow A Reader Virtual Book Drive presents an opportunity for companies and community volunteer organizations to support a charitable initiative while having fun in the process. With many people still working from home, organizations can customize their own Grow A Reader online shopping cart, complete with their logo and message of support. Employees or members can then purchase books through the cart, directly contributing to the cause.

Donating to the Grow A Reader virtual book drive is simple. People can visit a participating Grow A Reader business locations like Miracle Mile Deli, Joe’s Diner, and more (see website for a complete list.) Participants can “purchase books” online at swhd.org/GAR to help get children’s books into the hands of kids who need them most. Books start at only $3.99 and are also eligible for a dollar-for-dollar Arizona Charitable Tax Credit of up to $841.

Donated books from the Grow A Reader campaign are distributed to families in need who participate in Southwest Human Development’s early literacy programs like Raising A Reader. This program focuses on strengthening family literacy routines and community literacy connections. Additionally, donated books support Reach Out and Read Arizona, a national, evidence-based program that promotes early literacy in pediatric offices here in Maricopa County.

Partners of the Grow A Reader Virtual Book Drive will receive an engagement toolkit to help promote their virtual book drives. The toolkit includes weekly email templates, customized social media graphics and sample copy, children's book-themed virtual backgrounds for Zoom meetings, virtual contest ideas, and ice breakers to encourage team building and participation.

To learn more about how you can support the Grow A Reader Virtual Book Drive, please visit www.swhd.org/gar.

About Southwest Human Development

Southwest Human Development is Arizona’s largest nonprofit dedicated to early childhood development. Recognizing a child’s earliest experiences and relationships establish the foundation for all future development, Southwest Human Development’s more than 40 comprehensive programs focus on young children — ages birth to 5 — and their families in the areas of child development, mental health, Easterseals disabilities services, Head Start, early literacy, family support and child welfare, and professional development and training. Founded in 1981, Southwest Human Development serves 140,000 children and families each year. Learn more at swhd.or