GET BOOKED with the help of Quota International of Cedar Rapids and the Cedar Rapids Police Department!
When you think of 'getting booked', it may not bring pleasant thoughts to mind. But the Cops 'N Kids Program makes getting booked fun! How??? Police officers on patrol distribute books to children from the backs of their squad cars. In addition, books are handed out at special events. By providing books to children who otherwise might not have many, if any, books of their own, officers will be promoting positive youth development. Our primary goal is to encourage children of all ages to read and help them to recognize the opportunities that good reading skills provide to them. Age appropriate books, from pre-school through the 8th grade, will be given to youngsters. And these books are theirs to keep!!!
So come on now, don't you want to 'GET BOOKED'?????
While attending Quota International’s Annual Convention several years ago, the Cops ‘n’ Kids Reading Program was presented as having a positive impact on the Racine,Wisconsin community where it had been started. A police officer named Julia Burney had the vision to begin a program of distributing books to youngsters while police officers were on their routine patrols. Hearing of Julia’s success, other cities includingBethlehem,PA, began similar programs. As Quota International of Cedar Rapids learned more about the program, interest grew with our members inCedar Rapids. And a local Cops ‘n’ Kids program was born. Our original plan was to target at-risk children and those in families who are otherwise economically constrained, and expand their potential through the gift of a book.
About the same time we started talking about a Cops ‘n’ Kids program for Cedar Rapids, we began hearing about Operation Weed and Seed, a U.S. Department of Justice strategy to target designated neighborhoods in cities so drug abuse, gang activity, and violent crime could be reduced. In applying for federal designation and funding, five areas in Cedar Rapids were listed: Mound View, Oakhill/Jackson, Wellington Heights, Taylor and the Northwest Area. Crime data in those areas indicated criminal activity was increasing which results in increased risk factors for youths. In those same neighborhoods, the unemployment rate and children on free or reduced lunches was significantly higher than in other parts of the city. And, in educational test scores, we were seeing a direct correlation between poverty and crime, and subsequently literacy. Therefore, Cops ‘n’ Kids targets those five areas that have the highest crime rates, with the highest percentage on free or reduced lunches and the lowest parental education levels.
We have also set up 4 Reading Corners in Cedar Rapids so far, with a 5th one scheduled to be opened in October 2011. The idea behind the Reading Corners is to provide a place where kids can go and select a book and take it home to either read and return, or keep for their very own. Once again, we are trying to establish these Reading Corners in one of our targeted neighborhoods. The existing Reading Corners are located at Wellington House, the Community Connections Center, Groundswell and the Mound View Neighborhood Association Facility.
We have also recently started a program at Taylor Elementary School in our targeted neighborhoods whereby police officers go into a specific classroom each month and read a story to the kids, and then with Quota’s assistance, provide each child with a book. The schedule for the Officer Reading program is provided at this link. We are going to begin the program at a second elementary school in October 2011, and hope to continue to expand it to other schools in the coming years.
HOW TO HELP
If you are interested in donating new or gently used books, please contact us here, and we'd be glad to pick it up.
Holding a book drive at your place of employment is a great way to collect books for this Program. If you're interested in doing that, please contact us by clicking here, and we'll help you get started.
Monetary donations to the program are always appreciated, and if you're interested in doing that, please click here to contact us.
CEDAR RAPIDS POLICE DEPARTMENT
Check out the Cedar Rapids Police Department for Cops 'n' kids information.