Mission: We are Traveling Stories, a 501c3 nonprofit organization that helps kids fall in love with reading by the 4th grade.
We believe books are a necessity, not a luxury, and that strong literacy skills are the most empowering gift we can give someone. Our StoryTent programs deliver a sustainable, family-focused solution for improving literacy rates before the 4th grade.
We cultivate a joy of learning, and a sense that reading is pleasurable. We are experts at making reading fun!
Results: 1. Two New Weekly StoryTents
In 2015 we expanded the StoryTent to Imperial Beach (Friday afternoons) and National City (Tuesday nights). We are now providing free reading support 4x a week in communities with low literacy rates across San Diego. Our goal is to reach at least 500 kids every year at each of our weekly programs.
2. New Library in Cambodia
The San Diego Downtown Rotaract Club successfully raised almost $14,000 to build a new community library in Phnom Pen. The Library will be run by our partners TheAttitude Centre for Education and used by families who attend the Center’s education and leadership courses.
3. Four StoryTents founded by Franchisees
Late last year we introduced MyBrary, an opportunity for groups or individuals tostart a StoryTent program in their own community. This year four groups went successfully completed the application process and launched their own StoryTents in Santee, Costa Mesa, Long Beach and Turlock! Their feedback has been invaluable as we perfect our program models and prepare to scale the program further.
4. Mobile StoryTent Van
Las Patronas awarded us a grant for almost $14,000 to buy a 12 passenger van to transport StoryTent equipment (tents, carpets, etc) across town and take kids on field trips!
5. We fell in love with Humble Bundle
Thanks to an introduction from our board member Ted Adams, we developed a partnership with Humble Bundle that resulted in over $100,000 raised for Traveling Stories. In December, Emily and TS board president, Arman Assadi, visited the Humble Bundle office in SF and gave a presentation on the impact of their support.
6. Trained 220 Parents how to make reading more fun at home
Coined the “experts on making reading fun” by the National Head Start Association, we were invited to coach parents and program leaders at the NHSA conference in December. This provided a platform for launching our own training materials for parents & introduce our free virtual literacy coaches and online resource page. 220 parents completed our training in 2015. The conference with NHSA was a success and they’ve invited us to have a bigger presence in 2016.
7. Toy Drive Collects 600 Toys
Fifteen companies participating across San Diego rallied their employees and customers to collect 600 toys for kids in need in California! The prizes will be used to motivate over 1,000 kids to read in 2016 at one of our 9 StoryTent programs!
8. New Office & Staff
2015 was a momentous year for internal growth, too! We moved into our first office, hired our founder fulltime and hired Alyssa Humbert part-time! We also created a new position called the StoryTent Captain and welcomed Maria Baires as the Imperial Beach StoryTent Captain and Michelle Bess as the Waypoint Public StoryTent Captain! We’re still looking for Captains for City Heights, El Cajon and National City. Position comes with a small stipend. To apply, email email@example.com!
Target demographics: outsmart poverty one book at a time
Direct beneficiaries per year: more than 1,000 children, oversaw 7 international libraries and 2 local Story Tents and shipped thousands of books to remote villages
Geographic areas served: all parts of the world
Programs: community libraries, free literacy coaching, Story Tents and mobile libraries.
I know that traveling stories sets up libraries in areas where kids have no access to books internationally, but here in San Diego where there's a library in every town, Traveling Stories is attempting to get kids excited about reading, and I have seen the results of this in City Heights and El Cajon. At the Farmers' Markets you will find the 2 canopied booth of traveling stories jammed with kids of all ages reading aloud, sprawled out comfortably on the carpet rolled out over the asphalt or grass. Before the booth is set up kids are arriving to help and look over the books they want to read for book bucks. It is quite a scene, and awakens the hope that reading is not a lost art, but an enjoyable pasttime, and one that will help these kids enjoy success in school and life.