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Reading Owls International

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Education, Educational Services, Elementary & Secondary Schools, Literacy

Mission: Reading Owls International is committed to increasing the literacy levels of Jamaican school-aged children. We will do so by providing books and learning resources to schools and other organizations to expand existing libraries or to create new ones.

Results: Most recent: In 2016 four (4) new lending libraries were opened in western Jamaica and a fifth was supplemented with enough books to become a lending library for the first time. In total, we donated 7,209 books and made improvements to library infrastructure at a cost of over $US 32,000. By the end of 2016, and in just three short years, Reading Owls will have impacted over 4,400 students and their families, built or supplemented eight (8) lending libraries and impacted 15 communities. In 2014, we undertook renovation of a library space, built and opened a library (on September 24, 2015) at Clifton Primary School in Clifton Jamaica, and provided approximately 2,000 books and computers for kids valued at over US$14,000. We also donated US$8,500 worth of books to Ruseas high school serving over 2,600 students, and simultaneously gave US$5,700 in books to an early education/primary school to start their library. Details of the recent opening can be found at http://eepurl.com/bDjFqL

Target demographics: increase literacy levels among school-aged children

Direct beneficiaries per year: over 3000 students at schools across Jamaica

Geographic areas served: disadvantaged communities in Jamaica by partnering with local organizations to build libraries

Programs: books, computers, learning resources, library manuals, library buildout

Community Stories

16 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Writer

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our school, Pell River Primary School, was a recipient of a book donation through Reading Owls International. We have created a lending library since, and it’s been a joy to see the students light up at the chance to explore new books. All around the school grounds, students are reading and it’s a wonderful thing for our school. We are so grateful for the books! Thank you Reading Owls International for giving our students the chance to grow and learn. I look forward to seeing how this organization grows and continues to touch so many lives!

Donor

Rating: 5

I am an enthusiastic supporter of Reading Owls International because I believe in fostering literacy and a love of learning in all children. Reading Owls' programs have tremendous reach into areas where the need for books and learning materials is greatest, and their impact is multiplied by the sheer number of children and adults who will benefit from their efforts. The Reading Owls team keeps their supporters well-informed, with newsletters about their work and photos of children brimming with excitement over new books and libraries. It is rewarding to know that I can make a real difference in a child's life by supporting the work of this wonderful organization. Keep up the great work, Reading Owls!

1 Dan21_8

Client Served

Rating: 5

What can I say about an organization that really goes above and beyond such as Reading Owls International has? I'm a Peace Corps volunteer, serving in rural Jamaica and though my time here has just begun, I have no doubt ROI will continue to maintain healthy relationships with my school and community, creating memorable and lasting impacts beyond the close of my service in two years. Many local organizations will jump at the chance to donate books and while this is greatly appreciated, it's certainly not aimed at creating a sustainable path for development. Reading Owls worked with us to create a tangible vision for our unused library space and gave us the tools to make that dream a reality. Moreover, I'm looking forward to their continued support throughout and have already witnessed firsthand the dedication and passion of the team that makes this a truly great non-profit!

1

Donor

Rating: 5

One of my favorite things about this charity is their thorough and timely updates on their activities using social media. I don't get piles of junk mailings like I do from other charities, but I feel very connected to what they are currently doing. I've donated books and have seen those books-my actual donations- in the hands of smiling students. You don't have to wonder what happened to your donation...check their social media...you'll see your generosity ending up exactly where it was promised to go.

Writer

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Reading Owls is building literacy and access to books into the fabric of Jamaican communities. Through their founders' intimate knowledge of the country, having grown up there and maintained relationships with schools and educators, they are making a real impact. It's not just a matter of donating books, it's building a sustainable reading infrastructure that includes building new libraries in strategic places, supplementing existing ones, and ensuring that students have access to books and reading space year-round. So much good to say about Reading Owls!

Previous Stories
1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 3

Reading Owls International has some of the brightest, most compassionate people devoting time, energy and resources to its mission. The founders, Elaine and Easton Dickson are native Jamaicans that understand and care deeply for the communities of Jamaica. Their insight into the country's specific needs regarding literacy in children is a huge asset. As a member of the general public (and not someone intimately involved as a volunteer or board member) and who is highly critical of non-profit operation, ROI is strategic about how it does the work. It seeks to partner, rather than supplant the existing assets and infrastructure of the community - ultimately, empowering children and families in Jamaica. I've seen this relatively young non-profit make encouraging steps in that direction, through the distribution of books, repairing of old libraries and the building of new ones. And the holistic model of getting the whole family and community involved speaks to the sustainability that ROI seeks to achieve that will reverberate through generations. I look forward to seeing more of ROI's impact in the coming years.

Sarah350

Donor

Rating: 5

Reading Owls International is a nonprofit that allows you to get involved in so many ways, which makes the connection very personal. Not only is the organization providing services which are practical, meaningful, and impactful over both the short and the long term, but the organization provides its donors with regular progress/event updates, volunteer dates, and resources for further education of the issues surrounding the need. For example, I grew up in an area where my mom could take us to any of the four different libraries within a 10 minute radius which had access to a variety of reading and learning materials. Until I learned more about this organization and the needs, I took this for granted. I wouldn't be the woman I am today without books which have challenged my worldview and capabilities. In the same way that I benefitted from resources and opportunity, I love supporting Reading Owls International in their goals to provide these resources and opportunities. In addition to the personal and practical, this organization is very measured and realistic in their approach and methodology. Every goal of the organization that has been filtered down to donors and recipients, that I have been made aware of, is "SMART" (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, is Tangible). This alone is not to be taken for granted in a non-profit. The founder herself is a role model and fearless activist in her communities, at home and abroad, and works to motivate and complete her missions with grace, compassion, humility, and strength.

Donor

Rating: 5

As a teacher I am always looking for ways to help my students think critically about our world and how they can be active agents of change. At our school's silent auction last year, a Reading Owls volunteer purchased our "run for a cause" project. We then partnered with Reading Owls to develop a school fundraiser and learn more about how our work was helping build libraries in Jamaica. My students and runners were so inspired. And I'm sure they will want to do it again this year!

Nicola S.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Reading Owls International is making such an amazing impact in the lives of children in disadvantaged neighborhoods and schools in Jamaica. As a Jamaican I am proud to know that there is an organization that is so caring by leaving a positive footprint in Jamaica. Many children in Jamaica do not have access to simple reading materials, something we take for granted. ROI is making that a reality for so many children, an initiative that will no doubt have far reaching effects long into the future. Thank you so very much for the work you continue to do.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

For the short time ROI has been in existence, it has made a remarkable impact on the lives of children in Clifton Jamaica. ROI has not only been fundamental in empowering children but has also acted as a catalyst to help young children achieve a higher educational goal. Building a library where young people can freely peruse and read books of their choice is pure genius! I don't know many international not-for-profits dedicated to such a cause. The masterminds behind this remarkable project are Elaine and Easton. They are passionate about this cause; their efforts, hard work and dedication are unsurpassed. They are highly regarded with integrity and standards. Positive feedback reverberates from those who are work closely with ROI. This is an organization that I will continue to support as it grow and excel.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Reading Owls International far exceeds my expectations because they have converted a lofty mission into action in a relatively short period of time. They have proven to be focused, committed and efficient, already constructing and filling a library in their first targeted school. This gives me great trust that my gifts to ROI are going toward affecting positive change in communities that need a hand. I was able to attend the grand opening of the library at Clifton Primary School, mentioned above, and not only are these communities in need, they are deserving. They do so much with so very little, and to see the impact that this library will have on these children' lives confirms my commitment to keep helping ROI do their good work.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Reading Owls International is a progressive organization that believes in empowering kids through education. They have built libraries and distributed books and given hope to a new generation. As a Jamaican I am aware of the need for more scholastic opportunities as provided by Reading Owls International. Elaine and Easton Dickson have striven for and are well on their way to achieving a most heart warming goal and I am proud to support them in any way I can in the near and far future.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

This is extremely embarrassing - I wrote the last review as a general member of the public and somehow I accidentally marked it as 3 stars. I hoped to give it four stars. Until I can figure out how to edit the review b/c it's tricky as a guest user, I'm submitting another one. I hope this makes up for it!

Board Member

Rating: 5

ROI has a simple but vital mission - create libraries in underserved Jamaican communities, to allow kids to learn and have fun. That is some mission!! We know we are doing good, and invite everyone to help us - with your funds, time and abilities. I am excited to be a part of the ROI team; the unedniable combination of integrity, passion, commitment and professionalism serves to create a great team for doing good works.

Volunteer

Rating: 4


Reading Owls International is committed to increasing the literacy levels of Jamaican school-aged children. This I had proven to be true. After visiting my school, a remote community in Jamaica they delivered on their promise! They returned to us giving us a library filled with new books, furniture, computers, fans and personnels to do the work. All they asked us to do was to supply them with some labour. Reading Owls Int. is a superb organization that id so reliable and trustworthy and reliable. the work they did was accomplished and opened on September 24, 2015 at Clifton Primary School in Clifton Jamaica. Over 2,000 books were presented. The library is now used by the community and the school.
I would encourage you to visiting their website and read about them

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Reading Owls International is a nonprofit designed to support children living in underserved Jamaican communities in the most essential way- by providing them with libraries and books to nurture a love of learning and reading. Founded and run by Jamaican-born Americans, it works directly with Jamaican schools and communities to ensure that the books collected in the US find their way directly to Jamaican elementary and secondary school libraries. I have volunteered in their book collecting and sorting work here in the US. Only books that are of high quality are packed up for shipment to the Jamaican libraries, and members of ROI have overseen the delivery and unpacking of the books at the other end. I have known members of its Board for many years and they are people of the highest integrity. ROI has a simple and highly impactful mission, carried out by an efficient, organized nonprofit. Nothing is more vital for a child's academic development than access to reading materials.