The Story

Nationally, Reading is Fundamental (RIF ) is a program that introduces children across all 50 states to the excitement of reading. The dream of RIF was established by a elementary school teacher in Washington DC. Since she began RIF in 1966, her dream has been achieved across the nation and parts of the world through the help of countless volunteers and stakeholders.

In Alabama, that dream was realized by Past Kiwanis Governor Joe Dean with the creation of the Jean Dean Reading is Fundamental as part of the Kiwanis Young Children Priority One Program in 1992. Over the past two decades, Jean Dean RIF has grown to provide more than 25,000 books each year to at-risk children in low-income areas across Alabama. For Circle K, Jean Dean Reading is Fundamental was offically adopted as the District Project in the Summer of 2010 with an initial goal of $5,000 to pay off the warehouse in Opelika, Alabama. Circle K in Alabama has a long history of working with the Jean Dean RIF program by originally establishing the Tri-K Service Day and reading countless books to children with their Kiwanis Sponsors.

The commitment would soon grow expontentially. In the face of Federal Budget cuts following the 2010 Midterm Elections, the Alabama District Circle K, along with the Alabama Kiwanis Foundation, embraced the challenege of finding more funds that will Jean Dean RIF to continue to exist at its current level. Faced with the option of cutting services or dramatically increasing fundraising to make up for the $120,000 yearly in lost Federal Funding, the decision was made to up our efforts and continue services.

At the next District Board meeting, the Alabama District Circle K’s commitment was turned into the One Spark Campaign. The One Spark Campaign is a muliyear initiative to encourage the Clubs of the Alabama District to embark on a new era of partnership with Jean Dean RIF. Over a five year period, the Alabama District dedicated to providing funds for one month of book distributions each year. That equals to roughly $50,000 total or $10,000 per year.

Our devotion to the children of Alabama will not go unnoticed as we work to ensure that every Alabama has book in their home and chance to succeed.