INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The nonprofit Stand for Children Indiana and a few authors with Indiana ties teamed up to create a summer reading campaign raising awareness for social justice issues and racism.
The effort was also designed as a way to encourage parents and kids to accept a challenge to ready 20 minutes a day.
People who accept that challenge will get a free book.
Books were handed out Tuesday at the parking lot of a location of Phalen Leadership Academy on the far-east side of the city. Ashley Thomas, the nonprofit’s regional organizing director, put together the effort.
“We are always doing something every single summer when it comes to reading and making sure kids and parents understand about learning loss and how we fill those gaps, especially in low-income, Black and brown communities,” Thomas said. “We wanted to do something about it.”
Volunteers were ready to give away 132 books that catered to kids from kindergarten to high school and from various cultural backgrounds. Authors included homegrown talents: Warren Central grad Brandon Warren, India Kelvonia and Whitney Geathers. All wrote books calling attention to social justice and awareness in communities of color.
“We believe we have to be able to find creative ways to communicate with our kids about empowerment,” Thomas said. “We don’t want them to ever feel hopeless and we want to make sure parents know about the tools.”
Thomas has a passion for using the Stand for Children platform to help create change for future generations. For her, that mission starts with education.
“We just have to be the game changers and make sure we find the best way to make sure our babies are reading, learning and writing and we’re teaching in creative ways,” Thomas said.
The next book giveaway will be from 3:30-5:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Stand for Children Indiana offices, 546 E. 17th St.