YOU ARE HERE: IVPress HomeCollectionsCostco

Our Opinion: Reading rights

September 28, 2001

When something as positive as this month's 10-day reading academy at Niland's Grace Smith School happens, everyone benefits. The biggest winners, obviously, are the 50 participating students.

Recognized by the school as being those greatly in need of reading improvement, students showed dramatic progress by the end of camp. Not only were they reading better, they were excited about what they'd accomplished and the possibility of learning more.

Though organized and funded by Costco Corp., the reading academy was a combined effort of several groups. The Niland community is a better place since its involvement in the reading camp. The community was empowered by its volunteers who, as a group, proved they could affect positive change in their children and take control of a negative situation by turning it around.

We want to congratulate Diana Peacher, coordinator of the Niland Family Resource Center on the Grace Smith campus, for recognizing the need at Grace Smith and believing that something could be done. While low reading scores may seem to be an overwhelming challenge for any school, Peacher took the initiative and persuaded Costco officials to consider Grace Smith as a site for one of its reading camps.


With the enthusiasm and hard work of Principal Douglas Kline, Grace Smith teachers, local volunteers, Costco employees and AmeriCorps volunteers, this one school was able to make a difference in its battle against poor reading performance.

We encourage all businesses large and small to follow Costco's lead and get involved in the community somehow. While the corporation puts on the reading camps, Costco's local El Centro store already has a partnership with El Centro's Lincoln Elementary in which store employees volunteer at the site.

We understand a 10-day reading camp, complete with supplies and reading specialists, may be more than most local businesses can afford. It doesn't cost a dime, however, to encourage employees individually or as a group to donate as little as one hour a week tutoring a local child or helping kids with their homework.

It's good for kids, it's good for businesses. Beyond any higher motives, companies should see volunteering as a way to train a prospective workforce. If employers complain about a lack of qualified workers locally, they should ask themselves what they can do to change that. And at the least, businesses will benefit from the positive public relations such involvement would bring. For the price of a T-shirt with your company's logo, you can generate lots of advertising not just to young soon-to-be customers, but their parents and teachers, too.

In times when the challenges facing our schools may seem greater than ever, it's reassuring to see Grace Smith tackle a large part of the problem in such an effective and enthusiastic way. We hope other schools will look high and low to find creative, yet effective, ways of educating our children. It can be done.

Imperial Valley Press Online Articles