Yesterday was International Literacy Day, when the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and its partners launched a social media campaign to raise awareness of and concern for literacy problems in communities here and abroad.
It’s fitting that the day is during Grandparents Week, when we celebrate older Americans’ contributions.
In honor of International Literacy Day and Grandparents Week, we highlight UNESCO’s campaign as well as AARP Experience Corps, Senior Corps, Jumpstart and OASIS Institute - all of which use an intergenerational approach to promote literacy.
Through its campaign #literacyselfie, UNESCO and its partners called on all ages to take selfies reading their favorite book or reading to a child, and then posting the picture to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
In addition to using the hashtag to contribute to the national movement, each community created their own local hashtag like #cleliteracy or #indyreads to capture local involvement.
Like UNESCO, Jumpstart takes a national focus to combat literacy problems.
Through its premiere national campaign, Read for the Record, Jumpstart mobilizes millions of children and adults to celebrate literacy by participating in the largest shared reading experience.
Since 2006, the campaign has, according to Jumpstart’s Campaign Impact, engaged 11.5 million children, raised more than $8.6 million for early education programs and provided more than 1.6 million books for children in low-income neighborhoods.
The year-round advocacy at AARP Experience Corps is just as impressive.
This award-winning national program engages people 50-plus in meeting their community's greatest challenges.
Two thousand volunteer members tutor and mentor in 19 cities across the country, providing literacy coaching, homework help, consistent role models and committed, caring attention.
Independent research shows that AARP Experience Corps boosts student academic performance, helps schools and youth-serving organizations become more successful, and enhances the well-being of adults 50 and older in the process.
The older adults at Senior Corps, a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service, are just as committed.
Conceived during John F. Kennedy's presidency, Senior Corps connects today’s 55+ with the people and organizations that need them most.
Through its Foster Grandparents initiative, older volunteers serve at thousands of local organizations that help children learn to read and provide one-on-one tutoring, mentor troubled teenagers and young mothers, care for premature infants or children with disabilities, and help children who have been abused or neglected.
In St. Louis, MO, OASIS Institute is also changing lives.
The program’s intergenerational tutoring connects seniors with children in grades K-4. Volunteers work one-on-one with children each week, helping youth build confidence and experience success.
Promoting literacy is one way you can Do Something Grand for Grandparents Week. Check out GrandparentsDay.org for other fun ideas.