FFTL gifts 'starter libraries' of 10 books to disadvantaged families in Colorado, to encourage stronger reading activities and introduce the experience of ownership.
Fast Forward to Literacy is a nonprofit dedicated to helping low income children develop early literacy skills by providing students in the Arkansas and San Luis Valleys with a home library of ten books.
In 2004 two friends and I, a retired elementary school teacher, each put in one-thousand dollars to purchase ten books for every child receiving free lunches in the Sandoval Elementary school in North Denver.
The response was so positive we created FAST FORWARD TO LITERACY, and acquired 501(c) 3 status. Six more friends joined the three of us making up a board of: Beth Holt and Judi Cantrell, business friends; Sandy Mann, a retired elementary school principal from Cherry Creek schools; Jeanne Fowle, a retired math teacher from the Littleton schools; Sharlene Kark, a retired principal from Boulder; Lydia Ross, a retired librarian from Cornell University; Sally Barton, a retired teacher and administrator from the Denver Public schools and Diane Christman, the senior vice president in the Cable Center.
We continued the program giving every student, teacher and assistant teacher ten books in six additional Denver schools. Schools were chosen on the basis of having ninety percent or more of the students receiving free or reduced lunches.
The schools in our program were: Sandoval, Barrett, Columbia, Herrington, Mitchell, Swansea and Pioneer
Teachers were able to choose books from 16 publishers in English, Spanish or bilingual format. Every book was introduced in the classroom then given to the children to be shared with parents and siblings. The program was successful, even beyond our expectations, with many letters and pictures of appreciation from students and staff members.
The following programs have been provided books
Salida Head Start/Preschool
Buena Vista Head Start/Preschool
Leadville Head Start/Preschool
Cotopaxi Head Start/Preschool
Del Norte Head Start/Preschool
South Conejos Head Start
Center Head Start/Preschool
Center Migrant Seasonal Head Start
Saguache Head Start/Preschool
La Jara Little Treasures Preschool
Sanford CPP Preschool
Sanford Rocky Mt. Early Learning Center
Blanca CPP Tiny Hands Daycare
Conejos Rocky Mt. Early Learning Center
San Luis CPP Centennial Preschool
Blanca Rocky Mt. Early Learning Center
Conejos Rocky Mt. SER Early Learning Center
San Luis Rocky Mt. SER/Costilla County Early Head Start
Learning to read is critical to a child's current and future success. Having access to books at home provides language interaction between parents and children. FAST FORWARD TO LITERACY provides this opportunity to children and parents living in economically challenged communities.
Support came from many members of the Parker Newcomer's Club and Parker book, bridge and bicycle groups; business associations; grants from The Denver Foundation; Mountain and Plains Independent Booksellers Association; the Denver Retired Peace Corps Association; the Guaranty Bank Trust Company and board members.
In August 2014 our focus changed. We now provide a home library of ten books to children enrolled in Head Start/Preschool programs in the Arkansas and San Luis valleys.