FULFILLING THE NEEDS OF CHILDREN
L3 | LOVE LITERACY LIFE began in the fall of 2014. Former Mark Twain Elementary teacher Kimberley Montini noticed children at her school did not have adequate winter shoes or coats. She knew that the vast majority of Mark Twain students qualify for free breakfast and lunch at school, and that these meals are often the only food they eat all day. During winter break, many students would go without these meals, and efforts by the staff and teachers at the school to help provide food and clothing always came up short.
Montini confided her concerns in her friend Sherianne Schow. This simple conversation generated idea after idea, quickly becoming an organized effort to gather the resources and energetic volunteers necessary to impact the lives of all Mark Twain students. On the last day before winter break, each child brought home two heaping bags of groceries—most of which children could easily prepare if a parent or caregiver was not available.
More opportunities to serve soon became apparent. Summer break was approaching, a time when limited enrichment opportunities meant many Mark Twain students would not retain the skills they learned during the school year. A team combining Mark Twain staff and teachers with L3 volunteers founded a summer enrichment program open to every student. For the students who attended that program, 80% either maintained or exceeded their reading level. In subsequent years, that retention rate has grown to 90%!
In just a few short years L3 programs have expanded and our influence has increased, but our goal remains the same: meeting the physical, educational and emotional needs of the students at Mark Twain Elementary.