Reading at The Christmas Box House Is Fundamental

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Most of us, as we prepare for Christmas, are thinking more of last-minute presents, parties, and spending time with loved ones. Certainly, most children are thinking, some even obsessing, over what's under the tree. Hardly anyone is thinking about education or reading. Except maybe for the Reading Is Fundamental organization and Nestle, the mega food company, who plans on some children thinking about reading on Christmas morning.

Because of a contribution from them of $350 in books, local Salt Lake City moms and members of the Mom It Forward team and our kids were able to brighten the faces, and even the minds, of the children staying at The Christmas Box House in Salt Lake City, an experience which we wrote about last week. These books will help make a good Christmas possible for children who would not otherwise have one, as they've been taken out of their parents' custody due to abuse, abandonment, or neglect.

Nestle's gift is part of their support of Reading is Fundamental, which is a 44-year-old program dedicated to motivating children, particularly under-served children from birth to age 8, to make reading a fun and beneficial part of everyday life. It almost goes without saying that education is fundamental to progress in life. It is also evident that reading is a fundamental part of that education, since those who can read well generally do better in other disciplines as well. Hopefully, these gifts will make possible not only a happy Christmas morning, but the possibility of a better life through education.

It is, in fact, also the goal of The Christmas Box House to help provide the possibility of a better life for children, by providing not only temporary housing for kids up to the age of eighteen, but also a school, therapy, recreation activities, and health services. They keep a Christmas tree decorated year round, from which each child is allowed to choose a toy. They work with a number of service partners to prevent child abuse by working with at-risk families in their homes. They provide literacy programs for parents. They are also working to provide a program that helps support the thousands of youth aging out of foster care every year. The Christmas Box House International helped over 5,000 children last year.

Nestle also hopes that buyers of their products will support the cause of reading through their "Share the Joy of Reading" project, which kicked off in September of 2010. Through this program, consumers will have the chance to help a child receive a new book every time they open a variety of specially-marked bags of Nestlé candy. By entering the package promotion code on the inside of those bags at the program site, consumers have a chance to become an instant winner, for which they’ll receive a $10 book certificate. Additionally, they’ll be entered into a monthly $5,000 cash drawing. Each time a consumer enters a valid package promotion code to play the instant win game, Nestlé will donate $.10 to RIF. Additionally, Nestlé will donate a book in the form of $2 to RIF for each valid instant win prize claimed.

While it is tragic that some children don't have the same opportunities as others to enjoy Christmas or to excel in school, we can take heart in the knowledge that The Christmas Box House, Nestle, and other organizations out there are helping to meet that need.They cannot do what they do, though, without the support of people like us. Every single one of us can lend a hand, even if our time or finances are limited. Believe me: it is so worth it. Please think of The Christmas Box House and other similar charities not only at this time of year, but throughout the year.

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