By Hannah Wilkes
American Red Cross Volunteer
Kadena Air Base, Japan. On October 20th, the American Red Cross at Kadena Station participated in a reading marathon with the Read across the Globe literacy initiative. The goal of the marathon was to read to over 300,000 children in 24 hours, with the intent to surpass the previously held Guinness Book of World Records entry of 238,000 children.
On Kadena Air Base alone, over 1,000 children heard the story, Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table, by Jaqueline Briggs Martin. Featuring a former basketball star, it tells the story of how he became inspired to take up farming, striving to educate and feed his community with fresh food. Volunteers read to students in their classrooms throughout the day at Amelia Earhart Intermediate School, Bob Hope Primary School, Kadena Elementary School, Kadena Middle School, and Ryukyu Middle School.
The dedicated team of 45 volunteers were crucial to the event’s success, with 39 readers and 6 photographers donating their time and effort. The American Red Cross at Kadena Station was proud to partner with a number of organizations for this event, including Points of Light and the Barbara Bush Foundation for Literacy, with the shared goal of encouraging children to read and raising literacy awareness.
With at least 32 million American adults defined as illiterate, the need for increased awareness is at a critical point. This number represents 14% of the national population. Globally, the number of illiterate adults is closer to 1 billion. By encouraging people to engage in literacy-centered community activities and inspiring students with the written word, the initiative is doing its part to combat this crisis.
Further information can be found at www.pointsoflight.org or by contacting the American Red Cross on Kadena Air Base at 634-1294.