ATLANTE – A former Atlanta Public Schools educator hopes to turn the page on childhood illiteracy.
Alongside her daughter, she steps up to open a bookstore to help underprivileged children.
She said she feared many young people were left in a “vicious circle” without more community involvement.
Corendis Hardy said they were committed to “saving” lives through literacy. Currently, Hardy and his daughter are hosting community book fairs at the Mall West End.
She said now is the time for a place to call their own so they can provide more resources for young people who might not otherwise get it.
“I am deeply concerned about disadvantaged and at-risk children,” Hardy explained.
As an educator for over 30 years, Hardy has seen how detrimental illiteracy can be to our young people.
“When they get to school they’re always frustrated, they’re already behind and it’s this vicious circle where they never really catch up,” she said.
Hardy and his daughter spend several days a week selling books, with minorities front and centre, inside the mall.
As far as possible they try to make children and adults literate, but there is not much they can do in this space.
“That’s why we need our store to have a place where we can offer tutoring and story time. It’s not just about selling books,” she explained.
Now, the mother-daughter duo’s mission is to open up their own inviting space that they believe will empower their community through various programs such as enrichment classes and educational workshops.
“When parents are not good readers, they can’t teach their children to read. We try to get literature that maybe they can read. We offer our services to help them if they have need help, we educate them about it,” she said.
They want to open the store in southwest or northwest Atlanta.
Hardy’s focus is specifically directed toward children who live in socio-economically disadvantaged communities.
“I realized that to engage them, they need to see themselves. They need to have stories about themselves and that’s why I’m very selective about the books I choose,” he said. she stated.
This is a variety that some parents tell us is lacking elsewhere.
“You go to some bookstores, they don’t have a lot of ethnicities or even — because I’m multiracial, you don’t see a lot of our stuff,” Keonna Weeks, who stopped to pick up said books for her grandson.
Hardy said the bookstore would also increase accessibility to books from authors and publishers who are often overlooked by traditional literary organizations.
To learn more about Hardy’s efforts, click here.
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