by Denise Gary
Photographs © Denise Gary & Robert Gary

Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves. –James Matthew Barrie

Kids Need to Read received a generous $500 grant award from American Woodmark Foundation 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 sent the following message after the program began:

I wanted to share with you … I just had my guidance class with the 7th graders. We discussed the first chapter of Life Strategies [Jay McGraw’s Life Strategies for Dealing with Bullies]. 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!!!

The American Woodmark Foundation, formed in 1995, places a priority on literacy programs. The foundation is the charitable giving division of cabinet manufacturing company American Woodmark Corporation. This is the second gift Kids Need to Read has received from the foundation, due in part to the local support of Timberlake Cabinetry. A representative of Timberlake Cabinetry delivered the funds in person to the Kids Need to Read office. We appreciate their stand for peace, hope, and dignity for children through literacy education.

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 American Woodmark 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

American Woodmark Foundation
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