Some Facts About Literacy
- The United States is ranked 28th in the world in literacy. With the resources we have, we SHOULD be number one.
- 2 out of 3 students who cannot read proficiently by the end of 4th grade will end up in jail or on welfare. Over 70% of America’s inmates cannot read above a 4th grade level.
- Students who don't read proficiently by the 3rd grade are 4 times more likely to drop out of school.
- Nearly 85% of the juveniles who face trial in the juvenile court system are functionally illiterate, which suggests that there is a close relationship between illiteracy and crime. More than 60% of all inmates are functionally illiterate.
- Per the Literacy Project Foundation, three out of four people on welfare cannot read. 50% of unemployed individuals between 16 and 21 years of age are not considered literate. On the flip side, as the literacy rate doubles, so doubles the per capita income.
Are we sensing a theme here?
Literacy is a key component in increasing the quality of one’s life.
- Want to build self-esteem? READ. Given that, fully expressing your thoughts and feelings, aids in avoiding the feeling of being inadequate and oftentimes makes you feel better about yourself.
- Want to improve your creative and critical thinking skills, informed decision making, personal empowerment, as well as civil and social participation? READ. Individuals that possess these skills are usually the ones attempting to advance society politically and socially. 💡
- Want to increase your bottom line? READ. There are many studies that have proven that, when ALL things are equal, individuals that are highly literate, earn more than those that are not, over a lifetime. 📈💰
These are some of the reasons why the Positivity Pays Foundation (PPF) is determined to combat the literacy problem we face in our community.
Now, according to 3plearning.com, "the power of literacy lies not just in the ability to read and write, but rather in a person’s capacity to apply these skills to effectively connect, interpret and discern the intricacies of the world in which they live. The past decade alone has seen individuals' literacy repertoire extend beyond the traditional pillars of reading, comprehension, grammar and writing, to include digital and interactive applications."
This is why we specialize in media and financial literacy as well. Giving us the opportunity to serve the needs of our community in many different ways.
Our 3 Core Literacy Programs
- Basic Literacy (Reading Is Lit)
- Media Literacy (Your Story Matters)
- Financial Literacy (Sharing it Forward)
To supplement our basic literacy initiative, we created a program called Reading is Lit. This unique program was designed to recognize and reward academic success in the same way, with the same attention and with the same excitement, athletics usually garners.
The students will participate in contests where they can write an essay, poem or song. The winners will be given trophies, gift certificates and cash prizes for their hard work. This will ultimately incentivize the students to get involved as well as encourage participation from their fellow classmates that witness their peers being celebrated.
So how does it work? Well it's relatively simple. As we receive donations from the community, we will purchase as many books as we can from local authors. Once the books are purchased, we donate them to the participating organizations. By doing it this way, the parents, the teachers, nor the schools have to worry about any upfront costs. Then, we collaborate with the organizations on the rules and the supplementary academic component, choose judges, then set a date for us to come out and announce the winner(s).
Our partners at AVDA define media literacy as, “the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, and create media. Messaging from media comes in many forms and literacy has expanded over time to include visuals and audios aside from reading and writing. As technology has advanced, media messaging has a prominent platform to influence society and cultural norms. Media literate youth and adults are better able to understand the complex messages and commit to change. Media literacy skills can help youth and adults:”
- Develop critical thinking skills
- Understand how media messages shape our culture and society
- Identify target marketing strategies
- Recognize bias, misinformation, and perpetuation of harmful stereotypes
- Discover the parts of the story that are not being told
- Evaluate media messages based on our own experiences, skills, beliefs, and values
- Create and distribute our own media messages
Given these objectives, the media literacy aspect of our foundation is focused on finding, cultivating and helping distribute the works of empowering artists. Over the years many creatives have been left out of the book publishing and music industry. Making it essentially impossible for them to tell their stories and create a narrative that best serves their community. We’ve seen African Americans and Latinos far too often, cast as drug dealers, prisoners, slaves and marginalized immigrants. This purposeful negligence of Black and Latino culture does a huge disservice to our communities, leaving generations clueless to their illustrious history filled with inventors, pioneers, and business magnates.
For artists who are able to land publishing deals in these industries, they are oftentimes taken advantage of by major corporations and agents who prey on unsuspecting creators. The PPF will be working with each community to create an atmosphere conducive to learning, building and succeeding while maintaining creative control within these industries.
PPF will assist creatives via our Your Story Matters program by:
- Giving marketing grants to help creatives with limited budgets.
- Emphasizing the importance of ownership of the artist's intellectual property.
- Granting access to our network of media outlets.
- Teaching the basics of visual production
- Offering free studio time.
- Teaching our youth how to make beats.
- Providing a blueprint on how to write and publish a book from start to finish.
Financial literacy is the culmination of knowledge regarding cash, credit and debt management that leads to making financial decisions in one's everyday life. A 2008 study from financial services company TIAA-CREF showed that those who are financially literate, plan for retirement and, in essence, have double the wealth of people who do not plan for retirement. Conversely, those who are not as financially savvy borrow more, have less wealth and end up paying unnecessary fees for financial products. In other words, those with lower financial literacy tend to buy on credit and are unable to pay their full balance each month and end up spending more in interest. This group also typically does not invest, has more trouble with debt, and less of an understanding of the terms of their mortgages or loans. This is why it is imperative for us to tackle this issue head on.
PPF will assist the community financially by:
- Encouraging individuals to build, repair and/or restore their credit.
- Helping aspiring entrepreneurs to start new businesses.
- Having experts in the financial sector host workshops about their respective field (credit, business, real estate, forex, insurance, etc.)
- Growing a community fund and teaching children about the basics of the stock market.
- Giving away shares of stock to encourage investing.
Our "Sharing it Forward" initiative will act as our financial literacy cheerleader because it will entice individuals to share and tune into our content regarding finances. Given that in order to receive the stock gift, the individual has to follow, like and/or comment on our content.
By giving away shares of stock that the masses are familiar with, not only will it engage our target audience, it would also attract the attention of large corporations by indirectly promoting their brand. Imagine a company like Snapchat finding out we're gifting shares of their stock to the public, in our latest giveaway video. The video details why Snapchat has solid fundamentals and is a great long term investment.
Now think about that for one second. While promoting our foundation, we're essentially creating a free commercial for Snapchat that encourages the public to increase their bottom line. Wouldn't it be in Snapchat's best interest to promote or cosign a video that motivates potential investors to purchase shares of their stock? Of course it would. This is why we believe this program will increase brand awareness and help with our overall fundraising goals.
It is our sincere hope that this donor letter has clearly demonstrated the urgent need for our community to recognize the importance of raising our literacy rates, reject being content with the status quo and welcome the opportunity to create our own narratives. Our future success is predicated on our foundational, media and financial literacy. Each skill vitally important to the next. One must know how to read and write before they could interpret and create their own messages. Once they have the ability to create their own messages; in order for those messages to be effective they must have a platform or resources to spread the message. That is why in our fight for education and proper media representation, we stress the significance of being capable to finance campaigns designed to assist the people. Money produces the largest megaphone for media messages, without it, many times, your message easily becomes insignificant white noise in a treacherous unforgiving 24 hour news cycle.
With all of this being said, we are humbly asking businesses and small donors alike, to assist us in changing the community one book and hook at a time with our non profit organization. Your dollars will be put to work in our Reading Lit, Your Story Matters and Sharing it Forward programs that will have the ability to create tangible changes in our community. Thank you so much for your time and consideration in this matter and we hope after reading this and gathering more information, if necessary, that you are not opposed to supporting our non profit.