Kiwanis Club looks to open chapter for readers in Carolina Forest

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) – A service organization with chapters across the Grand Strand wants to improve kids’ reading skills.

The Kiwanis Club is hoping to do just that by starting a new chapter in Carolina Forest.

“We’ve heard it our whole lives that reading is fundamental, but the truth is reading is also fun,” said George Mamo, the Lieutenant Governor-Elect of the Carolinas District of Kiwanis.

That’s how Kiwanis Club members plan to have an impact on young readers who live in Carolina Forest, one book at a time.

The club which is an international organization already has six chapters in the Grand Strand, and leaders are ready to start number seven.

“Our vision is that every kid in every community would have what he or she needs to really thrive and to know that they’re loved, and to set them up for success,” said Mamo. “So we have clubs around here, but we don’t have anything in this immediate and fast-growing area.” With more families moving to Carolina Forest, there are more students in Carolina Forest Schools.

Last school year, 52% of Horry County students met or exceeded standards for English and Language Arts with their test scores.

That’s about a 4% increase from the 2020-2021 school year.

The school district said it could always use more support in helping kids succeed.

“We always need help, and we always need people that are willing to come in and provide additional support for our students,” said John Washburn, the Executive Director For Accountability And Instruction For Horry County Schools. “Reading comprehension is a huge component of all of this. so anytime a child has the opportunity to sit with someone who can help them navigate a book, it’s only going to strengthen their performance.”

With a focus on helping students read, and even providing rewards for kids who have read 100 first-grade-level books, the Kiwanis Club and Horry County Schools agree, this could be a win-win partnership.

“But a kid who goes from I don’t want to read, to reading 100 books over the course of the school year, you’ve changed his life,” said Mamo. “And you don’t how much of an impact one adult can have on one child unless you get out there and help.”

The next Kiwanis meeting is set for Monday, Sept. 19 at 5:15 p.m. at the Carolina Forest Library.

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