by Denise Gary
Photographs © Robert and Denise Gary

Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness. –Seneca

Kids Need to Read received a generous $2,500 grant award from Weyerhaeuser Giving Fund to be used toward the Kids-N-Peace program! The funding is providing 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 literacy. School counselor Todd Kemmerer recently commented, “Again, having access to these great books has been a fantastic resource and the kids are really responding to them. Thanks so much for what you do.”

This is the second grant award Kids Need to Read has received from Weyerhaeuser Giving Fund, having received $1,500 in 2012 toward the Reading Revolution program. “We applaud the work you are doing for your community, and it is indeed a pleasure to be among your current supporters,” said Fund Manager Karen Veitenhans. Weyerhaeuser, a forestry company known for its environmental stewardship and community involvement, plants trees, produces products from those trees, and replants trees in a continuous cycle of sustainability. The mission of Weyerhaeuser Giving Fund is to “nourish the quality of life in Weyerhaeuser’s communities, and foster the understanding that sustainable working forests meet important human needs.” Employees make funding recommendations according to the needs of their communities, supporting programs “which help cultivate growing minds and bodies, promote sustainable communities, and nurture quality of life in these communities.”

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 Weyerhaeuser Giving Fund 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


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