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KEDM Launches "Give the Joy of Learning" Campaign for 13 Local Schools

KEDM Public Radio began the 2017 “Give the Joy of Learning” campaign with a book drive at Lexington Elementary School.

Students, parents and the community can bring new or “like new” books to Lexington or the United Way by December 8. The books will be distributed in December to students in schools in the City of Monroe as well as Ouachita, Lincoln and Union parishes as part of the year-end “Give the Joy of Learning” fundraising campaign for KEDM.

Nearly 71% of fourth graders in Louisiana are not reading at grade level, according to “The Nation’s Report Card, NAEP-2015 Mathematics & Reading Assessments.” In 2016, KEDM partnered with the United Way of Northeast Louisiana to identify twelve schools in the listening area whose students would most benefit from starting or growing a home library.

“Last year, this campaign provided more than 1,000 books to second graders in 12 schools,” said KEDM Development Director Lila Strode. “This year, we’re including first graders to reach over 1,700 students.”

When donors give to KEDM between now and December 8 as part of the “Give the Joy of Learning” campaign, the station will deliver a book in the donor’s name to a child in an area school. Each $20 donation places one book in the hands of a child. A $100 donation sends five children home for the holidays with books. 

KEDM staff and volunteers will deliver books to Berg Jones Elementary, Carver Elementary, Clara Hall Elementary, Jefferson Elementary, Madison J. Foster Elementary, and Minnie Ruffin Elementary in the Monroe City School system; Lenwil Elementary, Robinson Elementary, Shady Grove Elementary, and Swayze Elementary in Ouachita Parish Schools; Hillcrest Elementary and Lincoln Preparatory School in Lincoln Parish; and Union Parish Elementary in Union Parish.

“Books strengthen our self-confidence and help us to understand why we are who we are. They help us discover where we come from and help us figure out where we want to go,” says KEDM Station Manager Jay Curtis. “We’re so pleased to partner with Lexington to add to the impact of this program, and we look forward to helping students gain a brighter future with the gift of literacy.”

Lexington Elementary Principal Toni McCarty adds, “Books help us to teach ourselves about history, the arts, science, religion, nature, mathematics, and technology –– anything and everything in our universe and beyond. Books also help us to understand the effect that all those things have on us and our world. “

The project is part of KEDM’s overall fundraising campaign for operating the station.

Books help us to teach ourselves -- Toni McCarty, Lexington Principal

Sponsors of the campaign include Fiesta Nutrition Center, Friends of KEDM, and Russell and Cynthia Woodard. KEDM offers special thanks to The United Way of Northeast Louisiana, Lexington Elementary, and Lamar Outdoor Advertising for making the program possible.

KEDM is a public service of the University of Louisiana Monroe, airing NPR News, classical, jazz, and other entertainment from studios in Sandel Hall and streaming online at The station relies on funding from listeners, local businesses, ULM, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Listen and give online and follow the station @KEDMPublicRadio on Twitter, on Facebook and @90.3KEDM on Instagram

For more information please call 318-342-5575.

Jay calls himself a "media producer" in a world of diversification. Jay earned a Bachelor of Arts in Radio/TV/Film Production from the University of Louisiana at Monroe and worked in video, feature film and television production for over 10 years before joining KEDM full time.
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