Everyone loves a big breakfast on Saturday morning!
Please join us for a Thrive! fundraising breakfast on Saturday, June 2 from 8:00 to 10:00 a.m. at Applebee's in Manhattan. Tickets are $8 and are available at the door or in advance from Susan Wendland at firstname.lastname@example.org. Come and enjoy pancakes, bacon, juice, and coffee with us! Our volunteers will be ready to serve you.
Fundraising is an ongoing effort for our organization, and we made more than $400 from our last pancake feed. We appreciate Applebee's willingness to serve as host for our efforts. Their pancakes have received rave reviews from some picky pancake eaters!
When I think back to my childhood, many of my strongest memories involve reading and books: My mom reading to me every night before bed. Going to the library in the summer and coming home with a huge stack of books. Sitting in the bay window in our dining room on a rainy afternoon devouring a Stephen King novel. Saving spiders because they might be Charlotte (okay, I still do this!).
We want the children at Thrive! to have the same opportunities. Not only can reading function as a family strengthening activity, but it is crucial for learning. Although Thrive! families have access to our amazing Manhattan Public Library, there is something special about owning books, particularly when you are a child.
Research shows the importance of summer reading to academic success. In an in-depth study of Baltimore-area students, Alexander et al. (2007) concluded that students from both better-off and disadvantaged backgrounds made similar gains during the school year, the disadvantaged youth fell significantly behind in reading during the summer.
According to McGill-Franzen and Allington (2004), “Too many children spend their summer with no books to read.” Their research cites the necessity of finding novel ways to get books into the hands of children during summer breaks. This idea is supported by research from Barbara Heyn (1978), who found that reading was the most influential factor related to summer learning, and studies by Krashen (2004), which state what may seem like an obvious conclusion: “More access to books results in more reading.”
Thrive! is currently serving 26 children ages birth to 11. It is our goal to provide each child with a book each week of the summer to take home and keep, providing a family strengthening activity as well as growing the children’s libraries. That means 10 weeks of books times 26 children (and likely more since a new class just started!) we need to gather.
Do you have some gently used children’s books you’d like to donate? Would you like to make a financial contribution so we can purchase books from FirstBook? Contact Susan Wendland at email@example.com or 877-376-0032 or visit https://support.firstbook.org/fundraiser/1426834 to donate to our FirstBook fundraiser to help prevent summer learning declines while also strengthening families!
— Jayme Morris-Hardeman, executive director
Thrive! is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the mission of reducing poverty by building skills and relationships that strengthen families and individuals. But what does that actually mean? Read on to find out how Thrive! works.
Leaders are those working to leave poverty behind, and Allies are community volunteers who walk along the Leaders for 18 months to provide emotional support and encouragement. For Thrive! to function properly, we require a safe place, relationships, and life skills. We all meet weekly on Tuesday nights for dinner and eat as a community. If you visited us (which you are always welcome to do!), you would not be able to easily differentiate between Leaders, Allies, and volunteers. While we are not a faith-based program, we are fortunate the First United Methodist Church in Manhattan provides us with their Harris Activity Center for our meetings. This safe place helps us do our work and build relationships.
Relationship flows through all components of the Thrive! program. Leaders develop relationships with staff, Allies, and other volunteers and build those relationships both on Tuesday nights and throughout the week. Consistent youth volunteers provide relationships to more than 25 youth involved with our program. When new Leaders join our program, the one area of their life where they consistently struggle is social support, particularly support for the Leader making change in their lives. One of our Leaders described herself as climbing out of a pit while those who knew her before Thrive! stood at the bottom of the pit grabbing at her legs and pulling her back down to the person she was before.
Only once a safe place and relationships have been established can learning and change begin to occur. New Leaders join our Getting Ahead class where they explore their resources and have a chance to look beyond today to their future story. We ask them to think about their dreams and goals, and through relationships, we help the Leaders make them a reality. After graduating from Getting Ahead, Leaders are matched with Allies. Education doesn’t end there, as we have 18 months of learning as we help our Leaders build skills necessary to thrive in their lives.
If you would like to join us in our work to end poverty in our community, we have a place for you! Susan Wendland coordinates our volunteers and youth programming and serves as the central point of contact for all who want to participate! Email Youth.firstname.lastname@example.org or call 877-376-0032.
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