Houston Charity Guide
doing barbara proud

Beloved Former First Lady's charity loads up books for Houston kids

Beloved Former First Lady's charity loads up books for Houston kids

Barbara Bush reads aloud to student
Former First Lady Barbara Bush's foundation is ensuring kids have all they need to learn at home.  Photo courtesy of Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation

As Houstonians adjust to school at home, some experiencing the challenge of learning loss, a beloved local nonprofit organization is making sure kids have the academic materials they need.

The Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation and Reliant have teamed up to provide $30,000 in vouchers for books and other learning essentials to more than a dozen Houston-area organizations who serve disadvantaged children.

The voucher initiative will help mitigate summer learning loss and support at-home learning, according to a statement. The effort is an extension of the HTX Reads Book Drive hosted by the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation’s Ladies For Literacy Guild in partnership with Reliant and the Houston Rockets Women’s Organization.

This gift comes on the heels of Reliant’s $300,000 donation to Houston-area COVID-19 relief initiatives to protect frontline workers and those adversely impacted by the pandemic and the Foundation’s donation of 100,000 new books to HISD students.

“Reliant is passionate about supporting youth in our community, and we can make a real difference by putting books in children’s hands,” said Elizabeth Killinger, Reliant president. “With school closures and the learning impacts felt nationwide due to COVID-19, our continued partnership with the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation is more important than ever.”

Organizations that will benefit from the gift include:

Adult Education Center, Bear Creek United Methodist Church, Books Between Kids, Children's Museum of Houston, Harris County Public Library - Curiosity Cruiser, Houston Area Urban League, Houston Public Library Foundation, HYPE Freedom School, Inc., iWRITE Nonprofit Organization, Reach Out and Read at Children’s Learning Institute of UT Health, The Alliance, The Kids' Reading Room, Wesley Community Center, and Women's Storybook Project of Texas.

“Children of low-income families typically experience annual summer learning loss,” said Dr. Julie Baker Finck, president of the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation, in a statement. “However, experts anticipate the ‘learning slide’ will be exacerbated by school closures that began in March due to the coronavirus. It is critical – now more than ever – to empower children with books in the home and equip families with resources to help continue learning.”
The Foundation has also launched #WeRead, a virtual read aloud initiative encouraging children and families to read together. The initiative also provides resources and tips for parents and educators to help support a child’s literacy development at home.