As a child I loved playing baseball, basketball and football with my siblings and cousins. Indeed, the only activity I enjoyed more than sports was reading. I read on the school bus, in the car, in the doctor’s office, in the treehouse - sometimes even when spending the night at the home of a friend! The joy that books added to my childhood is one reason that I am passionate about literacy today.
Research shows that literacy does more than add an enjoyable leisure activity to a child’s life, though. It also increases the likelihood that children will graduate from high school. This is why the Ministry with the Poor team has planned the Bazillion Book Drive as the 2016 North Alabama Annual Conference initiative.
The Bazillion Book Drive will result in many new books donated to North Alabama agencies, churches and other groups that work with infants through 3rd graders in under-resourced communities. The planning team chose this age range because statistics tell us that children who are not reading at grade level by the third grade have little chance of graduating from high school. The difficult reality is that 80% of the children in under-resourced communities are not reading at grade level.
You and I can help to change this staggering statistic by our participation in the Bazillion Book Drive! I challenge every local church in North Alabama to donate several new books per member to agencies servicing under-resourced communities. The result will be hundreds of thousands of new books available to change the trajectory of children’s lives forever.
Thank you to Sally Allocca, Chair of the Bazillion Book Drive, and her planning team for providing a way for each of our North Alabama local churches to positively change the lives of young children, not just during the three days of Annual Conference, but year round! For more information on how to participate in the Bazillion Book Drive, please contact your District Office or visit www.bazillionbookdrive.com.
As always, it is a privilege to serve as your bishop.
North Alabama Conference