Mountain Mayhem: The Importance of Making Room to Read | AspenTimes.com

Mountain Mayhem: The Importance of Making Room to Read

by May Selby

John Wood founded Room to Read in 1999 to improve literacy and gender equality in education in developing countries. Headquartered in San Francisco, California, with chapters the world over, including Aspen, Room to Read's mantra is that "World change starts with educated children."

In less than 20 years, his initial goals have been met, surpassed and continually reset to serve more students. Wood was in Aspen last weekend for an event with the Aspen Chapter of Room to Read at Tony and Terri Caine's beautiful home where he shared updates about the important work by the organization at large. Wood shed light on stats that speak to the progress of the program, such as its impact on communities that now span 10 countries in Asia and Africa ­— South Africa, Zambia, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. Equally impressive is the number of children who have been served thus far: 11.5 million and counting. In building schools, libraries and publishing books in multiple languages, Room to Read's model simultaneously benefits the students and their communities who play a part in the construction and maintenance of each school and library.

Wood urged guests to invest in children's education today at whatever level feels most suitable as every contribution makes a difference. For example, $50 can teach a child to read and write for a year, $300 can keep a girl in school for a year, $1,000 can provide a librarian and instruction materials for a classroom and $3,000 can keep 10 girls in school for a year.

To keep this momentum going, Room to Read continues to raise funds and support girls' education in developing countries. To learn more via the Aspen Chapter, visit http://www.roomtoread.org/chapters/aspen.