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Expanding literacy in South Dakota

SIOUX FALLS. S.D (KELO) — In the 36 years Reach Literacy has been a part of the Sioux Falls community, it’s been located at several different addresses.

Since moving into its current location at the Western Mall in 2017, the need for its literacy programs has grown.

Reach Literacy began construction in June…

“We had to paint that whole space, we had to drywall that space, we had to build offices and cubicles, add an additional bathroom so that we can have a public and a private bathroom and make sure that those are all ADA accessible and up to code. So that this whole project will cost us about 150,000,” said Paige Carda, executive director.

The expansion will add 3,000 square feet to the facility. Executive Director Paige Carda says the space will allow REACH to conduct its literacy programs in-house.

“Our goal has always been to have a Literacy Center, we wanted to have a site where we could actually tutor on site where we could train where we could teach, we could have volunteer training. And we were never able to do that before,” Carda said.

“It is been an amazing process to see how it’s grown from such a little small thing with lots of boxes, lots of movement, to now having our own space and actually being able to expand that space,” said Judy Abbas, volunteer.

Judy Abbas has been volunteering with REACH for several years. Before becoming a volunteer, she spent 38 years as a teacher and librarian. She’s dedicated her life to the importance of reading.

“Literacy is the most important thing we can give to our children and gift to other people,” said Judy Abbas, volunteer. REACH Literacy gave away more than 4,000 books through its teacher grant event this year. That’s in addition to the thousands of books REACH provides the community year-round. 250 adults and 131 kids took part in the literacy program last year, going forward, they plan to grow the program and reach more people.

“There’s so many books and so little time. And so you just keep reading and keep making it available for everybody. Because not everybody has access to the books that they need in their home,” Abbas said.

In addition to helping out with the painting, Shane Sutherland has also donated hundreds of books to Reach.

“Most people don’t know that. They just know me more for the antiques and the architectural salvage, but I’ve always been a fan of books, books are about the only thing I collect,” said Shane Sutherland, owner of Repurpose Project Center.

Sutherland is excited to see how the expansion will provide more reading opportunities to people all across KELOLAND.

“I’ve done things with other bookstores in town but this was my go-to. I liked that. They’re taking it above and beyond for the community and the people in it,” Sutherland said.

Making a difference one book at a time. Reach Literacy’s Bee a Reader program currently works with Anne Sullivan and Hawthorne elementary students. As REACH continues to grow Carda says she hopes to expand their program to more schools in the District.


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