"Corporate social responsibility" is an buzzword that has lost some meaning in the past few years. Companies (often through their corporate communications departments) boast about donations and sponsorships, sometimes without much thought for the true, lasting impact. But, particularly when done with a long-term, intentional focus, CSR can make a real difference to the community where you live and work. Last week, Lewis Public Relations had the opportunity to host a "literacy day" at Vogel Alcove, Dallas' only free comprehensive early childhood education program for homeless families. We were introduced to Vogel Alcove by our client, Alon USA, and took an interest in the program's unique approach to poverty - providing essential services in early childhood education; physical, social and emotional health; and family support. But, rather than just give a donation, the LPR team wanted to find a way to serve Vogel Alcove and its kids.
Our literacy day actually started weeks before with a book drive in our building. We were able to collect two boxes full of children's books from the generous tenants of Merit Tower. Then, we delivered the books to Vogel Alcove and spent the morning reading, playing and just hanging out with the children.
Why a literacy day? Studies show that reading to a child from an early age dramatically increases his or her opportunity for success later in life. And, only 36 percent of parents with a low socioeconomic status read to their children, compared to 62 percent of parents with a high socioeconomic status.
According to the American Library Association, reading to children ages 3-5 makes them:
* Two times more likely to recognize all letters. * Two times more likely to have word-sight recognition. * Two times more likely to understand words in context.
Reading is key to building a love of learning and, ultimately, academic success.
The LPR Dallas team loved the opportunity to tour Vogel Alcove, learn more about their services and read to some of the coolest kids in our city. We're looking for ways to work with them more in the months to come. Stay tuned!
For more information about how to volunteer or contribute to Vogel Alcove, visit www.vogelalcove.org/opportunities.