One in four children in the United States grows up functionally illiterate, according to the National Assessment of Adult Literacy. In Arizona, 42 percent of fourth graders are below basic reading levels on the National Assessment of Educational Process. Without support, children in Phoenix will become adults with low literacy skills facing barriers to their full potential.
Pi Beta Phi, a fraternity of more than 200,000 women around the country, is united in the cause to promote the importance of reading. It is the group’s goal to impact 1 million lives through its philanthropic platform, Read > Lead > Achieve.
As part of this plan, Pi Beta Phi hosted a large-scale literacy service event in Phoenix for its annual Fraternity Day of Service, celebrated around March 2 in honor of Dr. Seuss’ birthday. Pi Beta Phi donated more than 20,000 brand new books to Phoenix groups serving low-income families at a book distribution through Pi Beta Phi’s partnership with First Book. The event was held at Burton Barr Central Library on Feb. 28.
Close to 100 local Title 1 schools, after school programs and community programs serving students from low-income families received books, including select schools within the Washington Elementary School District; City of Phoenix Early Head Start; Assistance League of Phoenix; North High School English Department; and Creighton Elementary School.