Launch Pad Educational Programs began in 2011 as a small group of volunteers hoping to improve educational outcomes for foster, homeless, and low-income children who also had learning difficulties.
From 2012 to 2015 Launch Pad, an all-volunteer, part-time, non-profit program, offered specialized one-to-one educational help two afternoons a week to students from our target demographic. Unfortunately this model was not sustainable. Very few low-income students had families who could transport them twice a week for individualized instruction. Thus, Launch Pad was not able to grow the program and serve more children.
The Launch Pad team members, founder Anita Harten-Kroeber, and volunteers Alex Hubner and Bobby Pelz, decided to revisit the mission and consider whether a different service model would reach more students. After much discussion the team liked the idea of giving children age-appropriate new and used books at no cost. This would provide educational benefits to many more children, and if Launch Pad put on book giveaways at schools and agencies that already worked with the children we wished to serve, there would be no transportation difficulties for the families.
Launch Pad designed a new program based on research done in 42 different countries that found that the greater the number of books in a home, the better the eventual educational outcomes are for the children, regardless of the educational levels of the parents. Additional research that showed that providing new books, and allowing students to choose their own books, increased the effectiveness of book give-away programs. This was also incorporated into Launch Pad’s new model. The book program began in September of 2015 and was built around the idea of children each selecting one new book and one used book from no-cost book fairs put on at their schools or at various non-profit agencies.
In 2016 Launch Pad gave away 3,282 books to over 1,500 children.
In 2017 4,546 books were given to over 2,600 children.
In the future, Launch Pad hopes to grow the program by finding multiple ways to collect and distribute new and used books to kids so that every kid can experience the joy of owning their own books.
Launch Pad Educational Programs is an all-volunteer project of the Social Good Fund, a 501( c)(3) non-profit agency, EIN 46-1323531.