Buy a Fried Turkey to Encourage Kids to Read
This year, the Kiwanis Dawn Busters Club in Metairie’s Rewards for Reading program was recognized by Kiwanis International as one of the top 10 service projects in the world. The program is an innovative and successful approach to encourage children to read more books and improve reading comprehension skills.
“Since its start in 2009, more than 200,000 students in participating schools have read 2.5 million books,” says Lorilei Songy Bozeman, president of Dawn Busters. “The importance of children learning to read well at an early age is highlighted by two shocking statistics: A child that cannot read at grade level by the end of the third grade is three to four times more likely to drop out of school. And, 80% of incarcerated people are functionally illiterate school dropouts.”
However, because the pandemic has prevented large fundraising efforts this year, the organization devised a unique method of communication. Their new project is the “Kiwanis Happy Family Truck.” Three large billboards are mounted on a truck and driven throughout the parish featuring three mascots who enjoy reading, Katie the Duck, Teddie the Panda Bear and Sunny the Sun.
“I’m a man on a mission,” says Sal LaRock, the Dawn Busters’ truck driver. “I want to remind the public of our reading goal for all our students and to have fun while doing it.”
The colorful truck is driven daily by LaRock as it promotes the positive message to inspire kids of all ages to read.
“Sal always goes the extra mile when it comes to our kids and this is a clear example of him literally doing just that,” says Bozeman.
The program is in 56 Jefferson Parish East and West Bank Schools. Prior to the pandemic, more than 21,700 elementary students would participate in the program twice a year.
“Covid has changed a lot because libraries are closed to the students,” says Bozeman.
The Kiwanis Dawn Busters Club in Metairie has 176 members and is one of the largest Kiwanis clubs in the world. Even in these times, the club stays active doing such things as delivering donuts to 27 schools on the West Bank to show appreciation for the hard working teachers, feeding the homeless at Lantern Light and awarding more than $15,000 in scholarships. The club is travelling to Lake Charles in a few weeks to cook for more than 150 victims of hurricanes Laura and Delta. Members also volunteer at events including the Crescent City Classic and the Red Dress Run.
This Saturday, Oct. 24, Kiwanis celebrates “Kiwanis One Day.” On this day all the families of Kiwanis, including Key Club, Builder’s Club, Circle K, K-kids and Aktion Club, come together to make an impact in the community.
“This year we are partnering with ARC of Greater New Orleans,” says Bozeman. “There is so much that we love to do with our community.”
Dawn Busters’ Mission:
Kiwanis is a global organization of volunteers dedicated to improving the world one child and one community at a time.
Major Fundraiser: Annual Turkey Fry
It’s the self-proclaimed “Largest Turkey Fry in the World.” The Dawn Busters partner with the Krewe of Carrollton and fry more than 1,000 birds in one day. The money raised helps fund its East and West Bank Rewards for Reading Programs.
Last year they sold out a few weeks before Thanksgiving. The club hopes this year, it’ll see the same. The delicious birds can be ordered now.
How can readers help? The Rewards for Reading program is funded in part by the club and the money it raises during its fundraisers. Therefore, one way readers can help is by buying a turkey.
How can businesses help? Businesses can do the same by either buying turkeys or contacting them to become a corporate sponsor for the Rewards for Reading Program.
“Or better yet, become a Dawn Buster,” says Bozeman.
Dawn Busters Kiwanis
P.O. Box 6211
Metairie, La 70011-6211
Or at this link