AT&T* today announced a contribution of US$10,000 to help Duffy Books in Homes USA support disadvantaged school students in the United States by providing them with free books.
The Duffy Books in Homes program was inspired and founded by Alan Duff, a New Zealand author who developed the idea that failures in adult life often result from a childhood spent in a bookless home. Since its establishment in 1996, the program has given away more than 7,000,000 books to tens of thousands of students in New Zealand. Every year, the program presents the Mainfreight Award for Excellence in Attitude to one student who has displayed all round excellence.
The program has been further extended to the United States. After visiting New Zealand during the summer of 2005 as part of his doctoral studies through the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Richard E. Quest established the Books in Homes program in the United States in 2008. Since then Duffy Books in Homes USA has worked with eligible school districts and community organizations to provide free books to elementary school-aged children. The schools and organizations are selected from areas where the children are most likely to come from bookless homes. With the ongoing support of sponsors, the program has given away more than 47,000 books to more than 3,500 students in 14 schools in nine school districts in the US.
“Research shows that one in seven children in the United States cannot read at their proper age level,” said Dr. Quest, chief executive officer of Duffy Books in Homes USA. “Children reading at their proper level double their chances of graduating from high school. Thanks to the generous support from AT&T, we will be able to get more books into the homes of those children in need.”
“AT&T is committed to promoting education, strengthening communities and improving lives," said Roger Payne, general manager of AT&T New Zealand. "Duffy Books in Homes gives reading opportunities to children in need. We are honored to help extend the program to the United States and give disadvantaged children the chance for a brighter future.”
“The program has the potential to give away millions of books to the needy students in the United States, but it needs more support to achieve this goal,” said Kevin Drinkwater, board member of Duffy Books in Homes USA.