BE A BOOK HERO Project Details

Kiwanis Literacy Club Board:

Jean Chadwick – Charter President

Douglas Chadwick – Charter Vice President

September Forsyth – Charter Secretary

Jonathan Lee – Charter Treasurer

Charter Board Members:

Velma McNairy

Christopher Pollard

Jim Farquhar

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Charter Memberships Available


Sharing Our Mission 

Whether we are at the Cal-Nev-Ha mid-south convention or visiting some of our local Kiwanis Clubs, the team is always ready to share our mission of getting books to kids and our excitement about our Be A Book Hero™.

Check out some of the team at the Cal- Nev-Ha mid-south convention on 2/24/18.  We had a blast sharing our mission and giving away books!


In April we were guest speakers at Kiwanis of Glendale.  Our president shared her story that is the foundation for why we do what we do and got to talk about our Be A Book Hero™ project.

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Creating Access, Creating Change Through The Power of Books:   Kiwanis Literacy Club Charters in Valley Glen, CA

At twelve years old, Jean Chadwick was homeless and abandoned by her parents. The adults she had counted on to be there to teach and protect weren't there anymore. So, she made a critical promise to herself: she would stay in school. "Back in the '70s, you could fly under the radar," she says. "The biggest challenge was to not get found out." Everything about staying in school involved reading. Whether it was reading to learn material to pass classes, or flyers that advertised community services like free meals or places to stay, Jean credits her ability to stay in school to reading itself. "During this time," she explains, "books were a tactical tool. I made time because I had to do it, not because I wanted to, or I was passionate about it, but because if I did, I knew there was a path to success." But when she turned fifteen, she was assigned new parents at her church. In this new place, her new father handed her The Chronicles of Narnia and told her to go read. "I was terrified," Jean reflects. "I thought it was punishment." This was the first time anyone had ever suggested that books could be read for fun, to dream or escape her circumstances. At about 100 pages, she disappeared into the story and then truly understood the power of books. Now, Jean is insistent: “Everything we do is focused on creating the same opportunity for other children. We are committed to removing barriers & opening doors to show a child how powerful books can be.” From this story was born The Literacy Club, a 501c3 that focuses on distributing free books in underserved locations. Providing access to books where children cannot get to them—an effort they call Seeding Book Deserts™ “By seeding book deserts, we're removing preconceived ideas about how and where to get books," Jean says. "We're finding creative ways to create access and help children realize the power of books.” Kiwanis's long-standing relationship with Scholastic, the persistence of clubs throughout Cal-Nev-Ha with literacy initiatives made Kiwanis an easy choice for partnership. It wasn't a distraction to the Literacy Club's mission—it was a compliment to it. On October 4th, 2017, the Literacy Club chartered as Kiwanis International's first club branch singularly focusing on the literacy and access to books. Now called Kiwanis Literacy Club of Southern California, the club put on their first fundraiser this November, kicking off the Be a Book Hero™ 20/20 service project, which aims to provide 20,000 books, 20 custom mini libraries through 20 Kiwanis clubs. Its first library build will be for the Kiwanis Club of La Cañada. "We're looking to creating more book heroes throughout the Kiwanis family," says Jean. "We're creating a dynamic specifically to create access. Creating access, creates opportunity. Opportunity creates ideas. Opening the door for our next generation, and to change the world." (written by: Gabrielle Lee)

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