For the Love of Learning

UMKC Honor Society Receives Grant to Support Literacy in Kansas City

Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society’s University of Missouri-Kansas City chapter recently received a $2,500 grant to support literacy initiatives in the Kansas City urban core.

The prestigious academic organization, whose motto is to “let the love of learning rule humanity,” selects a local non-profit each semester to assist in the promotion of children’s literacy. During the fall 2017 semester, the chapter will volunteer with the Phoenix Family Foundation’s HIKE (Help Instill the Key to Education) Up literacy program, which helps to bring educational materials to Kansas City housing projects and to close the literacy gap for urban poor elementary students.

The grant, awarded by the Phi Kappa Phi Literacy Grants Program, will allow student members to purchase books, magazines, and educational games for six of HIKE’s facilities. Volunteers will be working with children on enhancing their literacy skills and completing homework, while also reading to senior citizens who can no longer read.

“We try to do a literacy project every year,” said chapter member Rhonda Cooksey. Cooksey, a creative writing graduate student, wrote and applied for the grant on the chapter’s behalf. It is the chapter’s second grant award in the past three years.

The chapter also won the honor society’s national book drive, coordinated by member Elyse Davis, which allowed students to set up a free library at Operation Breakthrough.

“There are so many wonderful organizations that support literacy,” exclaimed Cooksey, adding that chapter members are hoping for the ability to be able work with parents on encouraging literacy at home. According to the HIKE Up website, “with only five percent of fourth graders in Phoenix Family’s programs reading at grade level, greater intervention is critical to increasing the literacy rate and ensuring that each child reaches the appropriate reading level as quickly as possible.”

The Literacy Grant Program, established in 2003, provides funding to Phi Kappa Phi chapters and active members for new and ongoing projects that reinforce part of the Society’s mission “to engage the community of scholars in service to others.” Drawing from a multidisciplinary society of students and scholars from large and small institutions, the grants help fund projects ranging from traditional reading initiatives to those fostering learning in cultural, digital, financial, health, historical literacy and beyond.

Phi Kappa Phi claims to be the nation’s oldest, largest and most selective collegiate honor society for all disciplines.

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