by Denise Gary
Photographs © Robert and Denise Gary

Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see. –Mark Twain

Kids Need to Read received a generous $2,000 grant award from John F. Long Foundation to be used toward the Kids-N-Peace program! The funding was used to provide books vital to the program at Children First Academy in Tempe, Arizona. Kids Need to Read is producing the program for the academy’s entire student body (K-8) in partnership with the school counselor and administrators. The school serves homeless and impoverished children for which Kids Need to Read is honored to provide reading resources, presentations, and inspiration for a positive future through the power of books.


Kids Need to Read received the following exciting report from school counselor Todd Kemmerer after the initial implementation of the program:

I wanted to share with you…I just had my guidance class with the 7th graders. We discussed the first chapter of Life Strategies. It was AWESOME!! The kids were so engaged, they actually read the first chapter and the teachers are reporting that they actually pull out their books when they have free time. Even a few kids who are more challenging to engage were participating in the discussion. A few are even doing the journal exercises at the end of the chapter. Thanks again for the great opportunity!!!

This is the second grant award Kids Need to Read has received from John F. Long Foundation, having previously been provided a $2,000 gift for the Reading Revolution program. Founded by West Valley philanthropist John F. Long, a highly respected innovator of cost-saving, quality building techniques, John F. Long Foundation is a “non-profit, charitable, Private Foundation established in 1959 by the Long family to support local charities, schools, education events and general community needs.”

The Kids-N-Peace program is designed to support literacy education, as well as help students cope with bullying, learn peaceful conflict resolution techniques, and develop effective leadership skills. The Peace Packs Book Collection is the backbone of Kids-N-Peace, which also features related activities and live presentations to fulfill the goals of the program. According to, approximately 160,000 teens skip school every day because of bullying, and one out of ten students ultimately drops out due to repeated bullying. The issues of bullying, school violence, and lack of peaceful leadership skills are pervasive menaces to children and experience has taught that self-empowerment through education is the key to breaking the cycle of violence.

We are most grateful to John F. Long Foundation for supporting the Phoenix-area Kids-N-Peace program, as well as to those of you who have provided funds for Peace Packs to be sent to schools across the nation! Everyone can help expand this initiative by donating directly to KNTR Peace Packs or through the purchase of unique copper bookmarks designed especially for Kids Need to Read by Marisa Grieco, Urban Blacksmith.

Kids-N-Peace Program Information

Kids-N-Peace Funding Partners

East Quogue Elementary School Students
Elephants Remember
Employees Community Fund of Boeing Arizona
Fry’s Fund
John F. Long Foundation
Mesa Host Lions Club
Sundt Foundation
Weyerhaeuser Giving Fund


Leave a Reply