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2017 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Make Way For Books

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Education, Educational Services, Libraries, Philanthropy, Voluntarism Promotion

Mission: The mission of MAKE WAY FOR BOOKS is to give all children the chance to read and succeed. We provide a full continuum of early literacy education, programs, and resources to make sharing books an important and enjoyable part of families' lives. Our highest priority is to serve economically disadvantaged families with young children (birth through five) and early childhood professionals in under-served areas of Tucson and southern Arizona. Make Way for Books envisions a community in which all children enter kindergarten with the necessary early literacy skills to be successful in school and throughout life.

Results: Make Way for Books early literacy programs empower parents to be their child's first, best teacher, support early childhood educators, and ensure young children develop the skills they need to reach their full potential. Last year, Make Way for Books impacted more than 30,000 young children and families. Through our strengths-based programs, 99% of parents gain skills and confidence in supporting their young children's early literacy and language development. Last year, 99% of young children developed critical emergent literacy and language skills that ensure they start school ready to read and succeed.

Target demographics: young children and families

Direct beneficiaries per year: 30,000 children, families and educators in Pima County

Geographic areas served: Tucson and Southern Arizona

Programs: two generation family literacy programs for children and parents one-on-one coaching and professional development workshops for educators books for children's classrooms and homes community events Make Way for Books early literacy app Blue Book House Project and more!

Community Stories

42 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1 Genie S.1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I first got involved in Make Way for Books because the first three to five years of a child's life are so important in mental and emotional development. Some literacy groups work with school age children which is good, but many kids already have a word gap by the time they start kindergarten and never catch up. Make Way for Books focuses on infants, toddlers and preschoolers.
Books are a luxury that poor families can't afford but want for their children. The time a parent spends reading with a child not only develops his/her vocabulary and interest in learning, but it also creates a positive bond between parent and child. At Make Way for Books, parents can select books to keep for their kids and also get tips on making reading time the very best.

1 Rossana G.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Their work is definitely making a difference for the future of humanity! They don’t only empower families to become their child’s first and most important teachers but, they also set the standard in promoting equality and love towards one another!!! There should be a Make Way for Books in every city!!!

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I believe in donating books to help others. Most of us have books to spare think about taking them here instead of unloading them at a garage sale.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have worked professionally with MAKE WAY for BOOKS for many years and recently began volunteering with them. I am always amazed with the caliber of programming being presented by the staff. A lot of work goes into making the presentations informative and fun for the families participating. And giving free books to participants is so important and greatly appreciated by the parents and children who receive them. So many happy faces leave, eager to share the books they are taking home.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

This amazing nonprofit empowers parents of young children to be their children's first and best teacher. Research on the impact of their early literacy work has shown incredible student gains in the area of kindergarten readiness! The people who work in this organization are passionate about their work and go above and beyond to continue to positively impact young families in our community!

Previous Stories
2

Board Member

Rating: 5

My name is Crystal Soltero, and I am a university professor who has sent many students to intern for the folks at Make Way for Books. The students I send have ALWAYS been thoughtfully mentored and supported by the caring and supportive staff at MWFB. Because of this support, the growth I have witnessed in these students between start and finish has been phenomenal. The confidence these students display and their commitment to early literacy illustrates the power of the amazing team at Make Way for Books! Thank you to all of you who make my students feel so valued and so welcome!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have been taking my son to Make Way for Books programs for a year and we have absolutely loved it. My son the interactive storytime and the crafts that follow. As a parent, I am able to take away skills that help promote my sons interest in reading.

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Make Way for Books (MWFB) is one of the best nonprofits I have had the pleasure to work with! I am a Librarian in a public library and though we offer excellent story hours for children, I also share information about programs offered by MWFB with my customers because they are amazing! While completing my masters I interned at MWFB and was able see firsthand the dedication, professionalism and heart put into practice in all the staff and volunteers planned for the Tucson community. Their target audience includes children 0-5 years of age but at the same time parents and educators are benefited by the programs offered because they learn the skills modeled by MWFB staff and volunteers. MWFB also offers trainings for parents and educators separately. Best of all, as a partner with our organization, we have collaborated with huge fun-filled events at the library such as our Book Fiestas and Summer Reading Kickoff events that are a blast! Thank you MWFB for all you do!

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Make Way for Books storytime is the best! I first took my daughter when she was about 6 months old and she still enjoys it now at age 4. The story-telling, puppets, and activities are engaging and help model to us parents good ways to expose our little ones to a variety of literature.
The employees and volunteers are all so warm and friendly. We love running into our favorite storytellers at the various community events they attend!
This is definitely a great organization and I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to take my daughter to their storytimes.

2

Donor

Rating: 5

I started with this organization as a donor. I saw the amazing impact their reading programs had on the development of the preschool children in our community and on their instructors. I just knew I had to be more involved. MWFB has expanded their outreach in leaps and bounds, bringing their programs to the need instead of making people come to them, and all on a shoestring budget. They take their reading programs to food bank, subsidized housing and lower income communities, and preschools and schools in those communities. They have blue book house where children can have access to a lending library and if they decide to keep the book, that's ok; MWFB will come and fill it back up. MWFB educate formal instructors and home daycare providers in how to help children find enjoyment and excitement with books and the written word. MWFB is a highly respected organization in our community, our state, and across the country. I am honored to be a part of this organization.

Previous Stories
1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have seen children's eyes light up as they are handed their very own brand new book -- their first book. This is made possible by the amazing supporters and donors of Make Way For Books. Every child should have the opportunity to read and succeed!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

An amazing experience every time! My granddaughter has been going every week since she was 2. Three years laterwe're so grateful they have story time once a month on Saturday. Because she's in school now. She absolutely loves books because of these amazing people.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Areli 4 year old , Genesis 5 months old and I have really enjoyed make way for books. And always attend the story times. And programs. My girls learn a lot with this program. Thania is really great with the children as well as Deana, Suzzane, and Fernando.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am so excited to be part of Make Way For Books. My son (15months) is learning so much from his amazing teachers. This is definitely the best program in town. Make Way for Books offers story time, play time,sensory and our children learn how to play along together. They also love to hear ideas or songs that you can make up to share with the class. If you're looking to donate money or to find a class for your baby this is hands down the go-to place!

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Make Way for Books has provided an extraordinary experience for my one year old granddaughter. They have also supported me as grandparent with books, songs and activities. I appreciate how they embrace my granddaughter in both Spanish and English.

2

Donor

Rating: 5

I support Make Way For Books because I believe that they are unique in our community in providing high quality books and creative story times to children, parents and educators, giving economically-disadvantaged children a better chance to succeed and teaching parents and caregivers how to help them.

1 Elizabeth Marie G.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Great safe place for kids of all personalities to fall in love with stories. I appreciate them allowing the younger ones to move around and not requiring them to sit still.
The main office is visually appealing and extremely inviting for both parents and children.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

When I had my daughter, never meeting me before they came and visited me while I was in the hospital. They gave me a baby bag and inside it was a bunch of information on resources and about babies. How it is important to start reading to them at such a young age, I would have never known. Pamphlets in there kinda teaching me on how I would be able to teach my baby. They have helped me out alot.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

We started with Make Way For Books when my son was about 9 months old. He was born prematurely and was slightly delayed. He was a very shy timid baby, but that all changed the first day he met Fernando. Fernando is an amazing person with children, he gets even the most shy child to come out of their shell, read, play, and draw with him. My son is now two and a half and every time he sees Fernando picture on the Make Way for Books site he gets excited and starts jumping up and down. Make Way for Books, Fernando, and his entire team have made my son more outgoing, love books, want to learn, be more interested in coloring and drawing, and absolutely love books. We are lucky enough to get to enjoy this program twice a year through a local elementary school. I don't know what I would do without Make Way for books! If you or your family have little or no interest in books come to one Make Way for Books event they will completely change your mind.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Our students never choose the Library Center until we had Kelly, our MWFB support specialist start coming in each week modeling how to make books come alive and add other activities as an extension. We love this program and I know my children at Growing Steps Childcare & Learning Center are well on their way to being lifelong lovers of books and the Library Center is always used..

Client Served

Rating: 5

Love this program and what they offer my childcare center and how they interact with the children. Ms.Kelly Larkin is famous to these children when she walks in the doors, they all get so happy with big smiles and run to her. The Children love story time and the projects Ms.Kelly has to offer when she comes.

Board Member

Rating: 5

MWFB enthusiastic staff is dedicated to giving our highest needs kids the basic skills they need to thrive.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Make Way for Books supports families and educators in the community. It offers free workshops to teachers and many times participants get to leave with a free book. The content of the workshops is always well researched and practical so it can be used immediately in the classroom.

Board Member

Rating: 5

MAKE WAY FOR BOOKS has grown so much in the last 18 years, from a small organization to one with over 30 employees. Because of this growth, they have been able to expand their program offerings to sooooo many more schools, preschools, daycares, families and educators. Parents and teachers are learning more about brain and language development and the importance of reading to children from birth. And they are learning that reading is fun!! MWFB is helping Tucson and southern Arizona to become a much better educated community!

Previous Stories
1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I joined the Board of MAKE WAY FOR BOOKS after partnering with them to present familiy literacy programs at the public library. (I was a children's librarian.) Their mission and that of the library go hand in hand so beautifully. MWFB and the library want to put books into the hands of children and families and provide them with ideas for fun activities to enhance the reading experience. Reading is a vital life skill and making first experiences enjoyable leads to higher literacy levels in a community which leads to higher education levels and better economic situations. I am thrilled to be part of an organization that works to provide for such a basic need.

2 Kelly219

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

Make Way for Books is an exciting energetic center for readers and learners of all ages. I first worked with them as a partner in a community fundsraiser. They engaged their volunteers and staff on many levels. They were enthusiastic, supportive and willing participants in a community event. I have more recently been in their space and it is full joy, passion and possibility.

1 miaruiz

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Make Way For Books is my daughter's favorite place in the world to go to only second to Disneyland! I've been taking her to Make Way for Books' story times since she was 9months, starting with their Raising a Reader program at Manzo Elementary then with the weekly story times at their main location. I feel as if it's part of every parent's dream for their child to have a love for learning, and Make Way for Books helps instill that love perfectly! My daughter LOVES books and even more so when she can relate other things to the stories in the books we share with her, like songs, art, animals or every day things and events. Make Way for Books' programs do that so well for her and the benefits from those connections are monumental. I know every parent thinks their child is the smartest to ever live but to get countless compliments from family, friends and strangers on how vocal and intelligent she is, I know I can't take all the credit for that because Make Way for Books has helped tremendously with throughout her development and their organization is something I will forever be grateful for.

Elizabeth229

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This program has helped our family to learn to LOVE BOOKS! I have to children ages 6 and 3 and they love attending to story times at events held by Make Way for Books. At a professional level, the staff is knowledgeable, attentive and super fun for the kids and adults too!!! Thank you to everyone that makes this possible!!!

Amanda201

Client Served

Rating: 5

I can't even begin to describe the wonderful experiences that are provided by MWFB. We just celebrated our first year as make way for books students. I say we because not only has my son benefited and learned from this program, I too have learned a lot. In my experiences with MWFB we have attended the story time classes available at the location and also attended multiple Raising a Reader classes available at local elementary schools. My son and I enjoy these raising a reader classes because we are able to take home a bag of books each week with 5-6 books that are new and geared towards his age group. The hour long class is taught by 3-4 different teachers who truly have a good passion to teach young students and families how important reading is. My daughter who is 6 years old also benefits from the book bag when we are home because she is a bilingual student and our book bags are filled with Spanish and English books. Within 7 weeks we get to read about 35-40 new books without going to a library or spending money on purchasing them. The program also offers a complementary selection of healthy snacks that we also enjoy. A couple months ago we had the privilege of meeting the singer song writer Jose Luis Orozco at a private party at the Make Way for Books Location which has been another moment in our learning experience that we will never forget. We got to sing and dance and enjoy our evening together with the brilliant artist. Ive recommended the program to our friends and family and just by sharing photos on social media, I've been able to show my community how beneficial this program has been not only for my son but for our family as a whole. I could go on and on about our positive experiences with teachers and staff from make way for books. I couldn't thank the program enough for all of the enriching moments we've shared.

Previous Stories
1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Our family has participated for about 6 months, and in this 6 months we have read over 50 new books and we were also gifted with five books to keep. We are so impressed with the level of attention and activies that make way for books provides us. Can't wait to keep participating.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My family loves make way for books. The staff is very passionate about their work. It's wonderful to have Make Way for Books in Tucson. They offer many programs to our community that promote literacy and the love of reading. We need more organization like this one!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Wonderful resource, wonderful people! Can't say enought about how great mwfb is!

Mary398

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This is a wonderful group of folks who are passionate about literacy. And they make reading come alive for children.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Every child deserves the chance to be transported by a book. Make Way for Books is dedicated to increasing the chance for the child-book connection to take place among children who may be less likely to have books in their lives. The earlier the better. If you have ever read a book to a child, you've witnessed curiosity, engagement, perhaps a barrage of questions, laughter, recognition, and learning on different levels. Make Way for Books provides these mind- and heart-opening experiences day after day through volunteer readers, stimulating literacy programs, and the actual books that are placed in the hands of children. I am grateful that such an organization exists in southern Arizona and am proud to contribute books and dollars to it.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Can you imagine how hard life would be if you couldn't read? Make Way for Books gives books to young children who might otherwise miss out on the joy of reading, thereby increasing the chance that these kids will grow into self-sufficient, productive adults. I'm overjoyed to have this responsible, effective organization working to increase literacy in Tucson.

1 Marge P.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Make Way for Books puts books in the hands of young children who might not normally have that opportunity. The importance of an early connection to books and literacy is paramount for a child and for our community. But best of all -- Make Way for Books makes literacy fun! Their programming is a perfect way for a family to move towards a path of lifelong learning. Bravo to this small but mighty forward thinking nonprofit that makes Tucson a stronger community!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I love physical books and I love sharing the books with the preschool children that I read to as a volunteer reader for Make Way For Books. I read to all ages, from one year up to five years. It is so much fun to walk into the classroom and hear the kids say "Miss Rose" and run to the reading circle! Even the littlest ones say hi and get into position. It is especially rewarding when the children ask for me to read another book. MWFB is a fantastic organization for the volunteers, the kids and their families! The kids loved taking home their own book!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The very young children run to me when I arrive, calling out, "Books, books." The preschool age children are asking to take books home to read with their families. The parents are asking to borrow books to read to their children. Having a lending library at preschools is making a difference in families reading together.

Michelle S.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Make Way for Books started as a small grassroots organization and has grown into a highly effective, efficient and innovative non-profit organization. As a parent and early childhood educator, I value the services and programs MWFB has to offer. Their "Blue Book Houses" are placing books in the hands of children who may otherwise never get a chance to visit a local library, and/or get a book of their own. The professional development opportunities they offer to child care professionals provide research and evidence-based language and literacy strategies that are easily applicable to any early childhood setting. I deeply admire and respect the work they are doing in the community in which I live, and believe they are doing everything they can to improve the lives of young children and their families.