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Worth reading

Cindy Conover Dashnaw | Sep 28, 2017

Students enjoy the Reading in the Park program.

One in four adults who live in the Bahamas cannot read the glossy brochures and tantalizing websites that have lured millions of tourists to this Caribbean paradise. Even in Nassau, the growing, cosmopolitan capital and one of just 116 cities worldwide to be designated a UNESCO Creative City, 10 percent of adults can’t read to their children.
Those statistics are unacceptable o the Kiwanis Club of Fox Hill, East Nassau, which has made a commitment to improve literacy rates in its neighborhoods. Kiwanis clubs in and around Nassau began addressing illiteracy several years ago with the creation of Reading in the Park.

But when the Kiwanis club joined the service learning project in April of this year, members wanted to share the experience more widely. Following a recent Reading in the Park event, they created a video to promote their efforts via WhatsApp and other social media platforms.

“A picture tells a story just as well as, if not better than, a lot of written words,” says club President Johnny Orville. “We decided a video about our reading project would show how we care about the children of the world.”

Using hashtags #kidsneedkiwanis, #readersmakeleaders and #readingrocks, the club shared images of more than 80 children coloring intently, hanging onto every word of a  story being read aloud and reaching hands out eagerly as Kiwanis volunteers offered hamburgers and hot dogs.

Orville believes Reading in the Park promotes the importance of reading alongside the power of community.

“We hope this project will establish a creative and communal space for children and families to engage in cultural and civic activities,” he says. “It was a smashing success.”

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