The Rotary Club of Milwaukee has been giving books to kids in schools through the Reading is Fundamental program since the 1970’s. This year we forged a new partnership with the Sam’s Hope Foundation.
Many years ago a twelve year old boy named Sam Garner decided to donate books to elementary school students in response to his parents’ challenge to him to create a project of value to the urban community. It was Sam's hope that the recipients of the books would come to appreciate the enjoyment of reading. Sam’s hope as a twelve year old has grown to be "Sam's Hope Foundation" and when Sam moved away to college his mother, Barbara Garner, assumed responsibility for the continuation of his "Hope."
Sam’s original initiative was supported by agencies and schools throughout the Milwaukee area and it eventually came to the attention of the Milwaukee Bucks organization. With the enthusiastic, fully committed involvement of the Milwaukee Bucks, Sam's Hope has annually presented events at Discovery World, Bradley Center, Milwaukee Art Museum and Scholastic Book Fairs with hundreds of thousands of students receiving new hard cover books courtesy of Scholastic Books Corporation.
Last year our Reading is Fundamental program grabbed the attention of Sam's Hope. Barbara Garner recognized both projects’ mutual belief that possessing books to read at home enhances students’ academic success. In support of the shared literacy effort, Sam’s Hope has donated more than 10,000 hard cover books to RCM’s Reading is Fundamental Program. Additionally, the two programs agree that emphasizing reading only at home is way too limited. “Just Read Anywhere” is the collaborative mantra going forward!
Rotary received its first book donation from Sam’s Hope in early 2017. In March, seven Rotarians gathered at Oliver Wendell Holmes School to sort through 10,000 books that were then sent to RCM’s partner schools. Special thanks to those who helped sort the books and everyone who volunteers in our Reading is Fundamental Program!
Book sorting volunteers at Oliver Wendell Holmes School.
This year we have had dozens of volunteers distribute books at our nine partner schools - Allen-Field Elementary, Brown Street Academy, Bruce-Guadalupe Community School, Oliver Wendell Holmes School, four-campuses of Milwaukee College Prep School and Vieau School. To learn more about Reading is Fundamental or to volunteer at a future book distribution, please contact the Rotary office. After each book distribution, you will receive a hand-made thank you cards from a student to thank you for visiting them at their school.