Wise Readers to Leaders* is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to closing the literacy achievement gap for youth from low-income communities and to nurturing future leaders for a diverse world through service learning, cross-cultural leadership and enrichment programs. Wise Readers to Leaders impacts hundreds of students in grades K-8 (soon to be K-12) from low-income communities and at-risk environments across Los Angeles with free literacy activities that help prevent summer learning loss. Coupled with “camp style” enrichment activities, Readers to Leaders fosters self-confidence and nurtures positive attitudes towards learning through science, dance, music, sports, and more. Readers to Leaders extends its reach from the classroom into homes by offering free learning workshops for parents, including financial literacy, nutrition, and resume writing. This approach makes Readers to Leaders not just a literacy program, but a multi-faceted wrap-around life support and skills program built on the foundation of reading.
In 2012, Readers to Leaders began as an outreach program of Stephen Wise Temple, a leading 50-year-old Reform Jewish congregation in Los Angeles, CA. From those origins – and connected to Jewish values of tikkun olam, “healing the world” – Readers to Leaders engages college students and Jewish teens in running its literacy and enrichment programs, thus serving as a profound service learning, leadership training, and intercultural program. Due to the program’s success, Readers to Leaders became an independent non-profit organization, and it expanded the program from serving an initial 50 students to today’s impact of over 250 youth.
Initially a collaboration with the Children’s Defense Fund, which designed the curriculum first used, Readers to Leaders quickly became one of the leading, highest-impact sites. Readers to Leaders has built on that success to create its own innovative and unique program, with curricula designed specifically for its predominately Latino community.
*Wise Readers to Leaders, formerly known as Wise Freedom School Partners, is pleased to announce that 2017 has begun a multi-year expansion of its leading summer and year round programming to include middle school programming, even deeper volunteer opportunities and increased intercultural exchange, with 2018 offering the roll out of its high school/college access program. As part of this expansion, Wise Readers to Leaders is excited to capture more moments this summer. In the meantime, learn more about us from last year’s video!