MU SPOTLIGHT 20/20
Community Partner Spotlight: Cops 'n' Kids Children's Literacy Program
Beverly A. Bradley, President
What is your organization and your mission?
The name of the organization is the Cops 'n' Kids Children's Literacy Program. The Quota International of Bethlehem Charitable Trust Cops 'n' Kids Children's Literacy Program has as its mission "Connecting Kids and Community through Literacy."
What is your role at your organization, and what is something many may not know about the work you do?
I am President of the Cops 'n' Kids Children's Literacy Program, and my primary function is to facilitate the "connection" between those on the giving end of this remarkable collaboration and those on the receiving end.
What projects were completed on Heritage Day? How did volunteers on Heritage Day support your work?
I have to admit that the "spirit" that was part of Heritage Day has been repeated time and time again by the students and staff of Moravian University. We have just distributed our 781,000 free book, and Moravian University has been part of the distribution process at schools and community events throughout our existence. The value of this is that the children of our community get to know those who care about them, and the college students have the opportunity to be positive role models for thousands of children. Both benefit in that they are "connected" in ways that have a profound impact on them and on the future of our community.
Heritage Day activities included a book drive at the college and a visit to Fountain Hill Elementary School in Bethlehem to read to the children and interact by creating a craft project. We chose Fountain Hill because the principal is a Moravian University graduate, and the school is one of our larger inner-city sites--with more than 500 children attending. As a result of this Heritage Day event, we went back to Fountain Hill in January for Martin Luther King Day. At that event, PPL purchased new books dealing with diversity for every Fountain Hill student. Volunteers from PPL joined with Moravian University volunteers in the individual classrooms to read to the students, present them with their new books, talk about the value of cooperation and teamwork in the workplace and on an athletic team--and in life--and create a meaningful project dealing with these concepts.
What’s your favorite spot in Bethlehem?
My favorite spot in Bethlehem is in our city's schools because I believe we have a responsibility to our community to encourage our children. It does, in fact, take a village . . . As a retired educator and product of the Bethlehem community and its schools, I find great pleasure in making a difference in this way.
What is your favorite part of your job?
I am not paid to do this--this is a labor of love. We have thousands of young people, including those at Moravian University, who have joined me in this literacy initiative and have made a difference in the lives of thousands of little ones. When you think about the fact that we have distributed more than 780,000 free books, you must also think about the 781,000 "connections" we have made--connections that have the potential to change lives.
How does Moravian University support your mission?
Moravian University students/staff have understood--instinctively--that what we are trying to do matters. As much as we have impacted the lives of the children we serve in our community, we have also impacted the lives of the Moravian University students and all of the young adults from our community's high schools and colleges. This is truly a win-win situation, and all of us benefit as a result of our involvement.
What is the biggest challenge your organization faces?
Actually, I have to admit that I do not see anything we do as a challenge. Our community's municipal leaders, corporate partners, and organizational entities seem to appreciate our program and willingly provide the support we need. This, accompanied by the involvement of thousands of young people from our communities educational institutions, ensure that every child in our community who wants a book will, in fact, be able to get one.
Everything we do at Cops 'n' Kids is free and open to the entire community. Our many community partners/sponsors make this a reality through their support (financial, etc.). We could not have distributed 780,00 free books without the support of all of these entities, and we are humbled by the fact that we have been embraced by so many.
What do you hope for the future of your organization?
Literacy matters, and our hope is that the "energy" our program has demonstrated throughout our community will continue--for the sake of our community's children and for the future of our community.