April 22, 2024 #1 Local News, Information and Event Source for the Century City/Westwood areas.

Turning a Page for Inner City Kids

Rebecca Constantino, founder of Access Books, has an interesting wish for her nonprofit organization: “What I would really like to do is close up shop.â€

Is she dissatisfied with the work? Disillusioned? Merely tired of it? Not at all. She simply imagines a future where the work Access Books does is no longer necessary. “It is my dream that the need for organizations like this ends,†she states.

She has an uphill battle.

Access Books provides children in low-income communities across Southern California with much-needed reading material. Run entirely by volunteers, the organization facilitates interaction between diverse groups. as children from more fortunate communities gather to donate their excess books to communities in need. The communities also band together to paint vibrant murals in run-down libraries in need of a makeover.

The urgency of the situation in Los Angeles’ inner-city schools cannot be over-emphasized. California currently ranks last in the nation in school library funding. The statistics are terrifying. The national average for school library funding is approximately $16.50 per student; in California, the average is 30 cents per student. Thirty percent of California schools have no librarian at all.

Although there is only so much that a nonprofit organization can do, Rebecca Constantino is determined to make a difference. She started in 1999 by delivering books out of the trunk of her car, and the organization has taken off in a way she could never have imagined. Access Books has now worked with more than 100 schools and provided more than 1.2 million books to Los Angeles classrooms and community libraries.

More important than statistics, however, is the human impact of the Organization. Rebecca tells the story of Johnny, who was known to his teachers as “all trouble, that kid.†Rebecca put him to work painting his school’s library, and later offered him a ride home from the event. She learned that he lived with his grandmother, he had never met his mother and that his father was in prison. He told her he felt like he was living in his own prison, and asked if he could come with her to paint more schools.

Over the next six weeks, Rebecca took Johnny to a number of Access Books events, sending him home with new books to read each week. After their last week together, Johnny’s grandmother asked to speak with Rebecca. Her account of the situation reveals the reason Access Books cannot be disbanded any time soon: “She put her hands on her hips and declared, ‘I don’t know what you done to this boy, but he changed. It used to be them other boys would come by so they could run wild in the streets and now he don’t go.’ As I was silent, she continued, ‘You know what he be doing?’ Before I could answer, she told me, ‘HE BE READING. He be up in his bed all day, reading.’â€

Rebecca, Johnny and his grandmother all shed tears that day. Books had opened up a new life for Johnny. That is the heart of Access Books – not a charitable impulse, but the desire to bring people from all walks of life together to share the joy of reading and to give children opportunities they never would have had otherwise. Rebecca emphasizes that Access Books is not “one group of people riding in on white horses to save another. The groups work together.â€

Access Books is always looking for volunteers. If you’re interested in volunteering at an event or simply in donating books, visit www.accessbooks.net or call (310) 284-3452.

in News
Related Posts

(Video) Ariana Madix Confirms Something About Her Will Open Soon at LA Times Festival of Books

April 22, 2024

April 22, 2024

Ariana Madix answers the questions that fans want to ask at the Festival of Books as she appears to support...

Comedian Michelle Collins Brings her Big Natural Tour to LA

April 21, 2024

April 21, 2024

She’s funny, tall, glam and finally long-legging her way across these United States… it’s the Michelle Collins stand-up comedy tour...

Former CBS CEO Admits Role in Disclosure of Confidential Police Information

April 21, 2024

April 21, 2024

Leslie Moonves Fined for Aiding Misuse of Confidential Data in LAPD Complaint Former CBS CEO Leslie Moonves has acknowledged his...

Los Angeles Police Department Reveals Identity of Victim Found in Stolen U-Haul Truck in West Adams

April 21, 2024

April 21, 2024

Body Found in Rental Vehicle Was Shot in the Head, LAPD Seeks Information Detectives from the West Bureau Homicide Division...

Outrage Erupts Over Demolition of Iconic Midcentury Craig Ellwood Home in Brentwood

April 21, 2024

April 21, 2024

Destruction of Zimmerman House Creates Internet Backlash Preservationists lamented last year when another treasure of L.A.’s midcentury modern architecture vanished,...

Make Science Your Destination This Summer

April 19, 2024

April 19, 2024

Destination Science is the fun science day camp for curious kids with over 15 STEM activities weekly, three science stations...

Prime Time Sports Camps Coming Soon

April 19, 2024

April 19, 2024

Prime Time Sports Camp has remained a constant in the everchanging camp landscape for over 30 years by following this...

Groundlings Summer Improv Classes Open April 2

April 19, 2024

April 19, 2024

A summer of improvisation is around the corner at The Groundlings.  Three months of summer class offerings for teens will...

Coming to Venice for 4/20? Visit your original cannabis locals! Specials! Live entertainment @4:20pm  Doors open at 10am!!

April 19, 2024

April 19, 2024

Coming to Venice for 4/20? Visit your original cannabis locals! Specials! Live entertainment @4:20pm Doors open at 10am!! Free goodies!!...

Venice Kush Hosts “The Real Deal” Cannabis Celebration at the Beach

April 19, 2024

April 19, 2024

A Day of Education, Innovation, and Community at Venice Beach Venice Kush is gearing up to host its much-anticipated “The...

Get Jokerfied with The People’s Joker Director Vera Drew Interview; Now Playing at the Nuart Theatre

April 19, 2024

April 19, 2024

Vera Drew on Crafting a Trans Supervillain and Creating Comedy Chaos By Dolores Quintana The People’s Joker is an explosive...

Nicolas Cage Stars in Arcadian: A Bewitching Apocalypse

April 18, 2024

April 18, 2024

New Horror Film Delivers Solid Monster Movie Experience Arcadian is a new horror film starring Nicolas Cage (Dream Scenario, Mandy),...

Westside Woman Pleads Guilty to $2M COVID-19 Loan Fraud, IRS Scam

April 18, 2024

April 18, 2024

Suspect Admits to Wire Fraud, False Claims in Elaborate Scheme Casie Hynes, a resident of the Mid-City area, entered a...

Body Found Abandoned in Stolen U-Haul Truck in Los Angeles Mid-City

April 18, 2024

April 18, 2024

LAPD Investigates Disturbing Discovery After Worker Reports Foul Odor Authorities are probing a disturbing incident after a body was discovered...

(Video) Award-Winning Pianist to Premiere “Rocket Man: A Live Orchestral Experience” in Santa Monica

April 18, 2024

April 18, 2024

Classic Songs Will Include “Crocodile Rock” and “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” @centurycitywestwoodnews “Rocket Man” is coming soon to Santa Monica...