Guest column: Read all about it

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Photo by Gary L. Geiger

Reading a novel, magazine article, business publication, textbook or even this essay is an activity that many of us take for granted.

Reading is fundatmental; it is part of our curious nature.

We learn from reading. We are entertained.

Community members who want to read or to teach their children to read, buy books. For many others who are economically disadvantaged or have no discretionary income to buy books, Grace Place for Children and Families, in Golden Gate, is an answer.

Grace Place is a nonprofit addressing the needs of families who are surviving and making it, but are lacking discretionary income for books and other basics.

In an unprecedented show of collaborative community support, the Leadership Collier Class of 2013 has taken the lead to organize a book drive for the young children at Grace Place.

With the commitment from Barnes & Noble, Hodges University, the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce, several local Girl Scout troops and a host of private companies whose leaders are part of this Leadership Collier class, we are hopeful that the families who rely on Grace Place will have the resources they need to help their children read.

The goal is 400 books for young children or enough funds to buy them.

Books and literacy provide numerous benefits, including: family bonding by reading together, better speech and communications skills, greater academic achievement, and help with increased self-esteem, confidence and empowerment.

On a macro scale, the benefits of literacy also reduce poverty and crime, increase civic engagement, prevent HIV/AIDS and other diseases through providing information and lead to lower birth rates as a result of increased education.

Of course, the benefits of literacy accrue only when books are available.

Diane Ponton, director of literacy at Grace Place, says, "Books are desperately needed for children five and under. Picking up a book with a parent or seeing words associated with images is a great first step toward gaining literacy. Having more books, new or gently used, would be such a big help! The children will smile inside and out."

How can you help? On Saturday, Nov. 10, from 8 a.m. to noon, bring your gently used books for small children to Grace Place at 4300 21st Ave. S.W.

You could make a tax-deductible cash donation at that time or mail it directly to Grace Place.

If it's more convenient, drop off your books at the Chamber of Commerce at 2390 U.S. 41 North, where special book bins are available.

As Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "Life's most urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'''

© 2012 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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