Friday, September 04, 2009

BloggersUnite.org Challenges Bloggers to Raise Awareness for Literacy

San Antonio, TX — BloggersUnite.org is partnering with the APPLE Partnership in cooperation with Barnes & Noble; BlogCatalog.com; the City of Henderson (Nevada); Copywrite, Ink.; FedEx; PBS&J; and Wal-Mart for International Literacy Day on Sept. 8. The online campaign asks bloggers, journalists, and companies to help raise awareness for literacy by dedicating a blog post, press release, or online message that points people to local, regional, and international programs that increase literacy around the world.

International Literacy Day was originally proclaimed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1965 with the aim to highlight the importance of literacy to individuals, communities and societies. The UNESCO theme places the spotlight on its importance for participation, citizenship and social development. At BloggersUnite.org, individual bloggers have designated literacy as this year's most underserved need.

"We have the technology to put every book on an e-reader, but we still haven't taught 776 million adults the minimum literacy skills," said Tony Berkman, president of BlogCatalog.com and co-founder of BloggersUnite.org. "I think that is what is so frustrating for many. This challenge is solvable on the local level, which is why we partnered with the APPLE Partnership, the City of Henderson, and various corporate sponsors who support literacy where it matters most."

One APPLE Partnership program encourages older siblings to read to younger ones. For every book read, they receive a chance to win a computer. PBS&J awards a computer to the school whose students read the most books.

Barnes & Noble supports local and national requests from nonprofit organizations that focus on literacy, the arts, or education for children, pre-K to grade 12. It also considers sponsor opportunities that focus its business on higher learning. Its summer reading program puts more than one million books in the hands of children every year.

FedEx, which supports several education programs, has pledged more than $1 million to assist Junior Achievement Worldwide, which is the world's largest organization dedicated to educating students about workforce readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy through experiential, hands-on programs.

Wal-Mart, which has initiated several literacy programs over the years, and the Wal-Mart Foundation, which continues to support high school success, access and retention of first generation college students, and adolescent literacy.

UNESCO will be hosting a day-long event at its headquarters in Paris. It will include an International Literacy Day Message by Koïchiro Matsuura, director-general of UNESCO, and an address by Laura Bush, honorary ambassador for the UN Literacy Decade.

"In 2004, after Mayor Jim Gibson and the Henderson City Council became alarmed by the startling statistics about local childhood literacy, we partnered with the Clark County (Nevada) School District, parents and teachers to develop a proactive way to help families help children learn how to read," said City of Henderson Mayor Andy Hafen. "We're proud to continue this legacy for literacy and to do our part as a community, and we hope, by providing an example, other communities can do their part to improve literacy and give all children a chance to succeed."

As part of the BloggersUnite.org initiative, the APPLE Partnership and its sponsors are being included as one of hundreds of examples worldwide. While Berkman encourages bloggers to find local examples, he says that highlighting efforts like the APPLE Partnership can encourage other communities to strengthen their resolve in the fight for literacy, which is the foundation for all education.

Since 2007, BlogCatalog's Bloggers Unite initiative has evolved from the first blogger-driven social awareness campaign into a self-sustaining social awareness network. More than 200,000 bloggers interact on BlogCatalog.com every day and provide the foundation for BloggersUnite.org.

Blog Catalog recognized its reach as an asset in order to create awareness and stimulate positive change. Through Blog Catalog, BloggersUnite.org is able to reach nearly 300,000 bloggers in an effort to do good. Since its onset, BloggersUnite.org has supported causes like human rights, AIDS, hunger, and literacy. The initiatives hosted through BloggersUnite.org also provide added value for members of Blog Catalog — the ability to come together with a common cause in mind and make a difference.

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