6 7 www.htcinc.net | Fall 2017 Fall 2017 | www.htcinc.net A child’s number one barrier to literacy? Book access. Imagine being transported to a land where fairies dwell and frogs talk, or falling into an alternate universe where magic and mermaids rule. Picture a world where you can be a super sleuth or a scientist. A book is a treasured escape — a way to flee from reality when this world becomes too much. Beyond a place where imagination runs wild, books — more aptly, literacy — can influence a child’s likelihood of future success. Childhood literacy impacts nearly every aspect of children’s lives, from their odds of graduating high school to whether or not they consume medication correctly. It can affect their employment prospects and their health status. Opening a whole new world How First Book Horry County puts literacy first • 2/3 of students who cannot read proficiently by the end of 4th grade will end up in jail or on welfare.1 • Over 70% of America’s inmates cannot read above a 4th grade level. 1 That’s an issue the dedicated volunteers at Team First Book Horry County seek to resolve. “When I think of all the children who are not around books from an early age — maybe their families are more concerned about putting a roof over their heads and food on the table — it makes me sad,” says Mona Prufer, the organization’s events coordinator. “They will be at such a disadvantage all their lives. There are a lot of children in our Title I schools who fall in this category — children who have never been in a bookstore or even a library.” Title 1 schools have a student population with at least 40 percent of students from low-income families, and can receive Title 1 funding in addition to standard federal, state and local contributions. First Book Horry County’s mission is simple: Raise funds to provide books to underprivileged children in Horry County. Why? Because they want to provide equal access to quality education for kids in our community. And they’re on their way. Since 1998, the group has raised over $212,000 and provided over 85,000 books to children right here in Horry County. First Book is a national organization, but the Horry County chapter is the only one existing in South Carolina. In an age when nonprofit scandals too often make the headlines, it can be hard to donate a portion of your hard-earned money and trust that it’s being used for the stated intention. Kortnee Crumpler, chair of the First Book Horry County Board of Directors, nullifies that fear. Sources: 1 Write Express Corporation. "Literacy Statistics." Begin to Read. Accessed September 2017. 2 theliteracycenter.org. Accessed September 2017. 3 2017 Kids Count for Horry County, Children’s Trust of South Carolina, 2017. Photos provided by Russell Alston. Chair of the First Book Horry County Board of Directors, Kortnee Crumpler. • Reports indicate that illiteracy in the United States directly costs the healthcare industry over $70 million every year. 1 • South Carolina has the 13th highest rate of functional illiteracy in the United States.2 • The percentage of Horry County children in poverty has decreased from 31.6% in 2011 to 29.6% in 2017, likely due to the overall population increase. However, nearly 30% of children in poverty is still too large a number.3