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Martin Luther King Jr Observance

Martin Luther King Jr Observance

RSVP of Fort Madison (Retired Senior Volunteer Program) is observing Martin Luther King Day this year by hosting a month-long children’s book drive.  RSVP’s focus is to promote children’s literacy by offering free books to children of all ages. 

Martin Luther King Jr. was a strong advocate for child and adult literacy. Historically, literacy has been used both to deny and promote citizenship. For instance, black slaves in the US were explicitly denied the opportunity to learn to read and write in an effort to deny their citizenship rights. Literacy – the ability to read and write – is essential to fully developing a sense of well-being and citizenship. The Adult Literacy Resource Center at the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial Library in Washington DC believes that literacy is a right not a privilege. Children who are solid readers perform better in school, have a healthy self-image, and become lifelong learners, adding to their viability in a competitive world. Martin Luther King Jr believed in the importance of providing children with the simplest tools to better their education for greater success in life.

Reading is Fundamental states “Studies show that socio-economic status has twice the influence on reading achievement as does ethnicity or gender. We know that giving children access to good books, to choose and to own, has a positive impact on how much children read and their attitudes toward reading as well as their writing and speaking abilities.”

RSVP’s mission is to engage local organizations and families by increasing awareness of the President's “call to service.” Martin Luther King, Jr. committed his life to the betterment of humanity, and understood “service” as the nexus between people and their communities. It is through service to others that we can strengthen communities, empower individuals, and bridge barriers. By promoting a month-long book drive, RSVP hopes to establish “Not Just One Day of Service” but a year-long commitment to our community’s literacy needs.  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "Life's most persistent and urgent question is: 'What are you doing for others?’” RSVP believes  in Dr. King's ideals and commitment to the highest standards in scholarship, civic participation and the ideal of the beloved community.

New and gently used books for children Kindergarten through age 18 will be accepted.  Individuals may drop off books at four convenient sites any time during the month of January.  Look for the yellow box at these drop-off sites: RSVP/City Hall, The Fort Madison Public Library, The Bookmark and Fort Madison Community Hospital.  The Bookmark is generously offering a 15% discount on all books purchased to donate to the book drive. Donated books will be distributed at the new United Way Resource Center located in the Idol Rashid Memorial Building across from McDonalds.  Children will be able to choose books of their liking for free.  Any books remaining in June will be distributed at the United Way Day of Action-Book Swap on June 21st. Our goal is to collect 200 books.

If you are interested in helping with this project, or have questions, please call the RSVP office at 319-372-7700 ext. 216.