Sometimes, when you are living in a rough situation or going through a rough time, you need a good story to take you away, to give you power, to help you dream about changing your own story. The Iowa Conference hopes to help thousands of children do just that through a reading initiative called Change a Child’s Story. Bishop Julius Trimble unveiled his mission to help young people move from poverty to opportunity. The first meeting of the Bishop’s Poverty to Opportunity Task Force took place in September of 2014, where Bishop Trimble made the goals of the task force clear. He hoped that this would be a movement open to all, and he wanted to make sure the people involved were dreaming big. With that in mind, the task force got to work. The task force chose to focus on reading as a way to combat poverty through education. In 2012, roughly 1 in 4 Iowa fourth graders scored below proficient on the state reading test. From that one class alone, the academic and economic futures of 8,947 young Iowans are at risk.

The task force believes this project deserves the time and commitment of a state-wide effort, and made a motion to Bishop Trimble to have the Annual Conference to affirm the work of the Poverty to Opportunity Initiative. The bishop asked for support for that mission by having the assembly stand and annual conference members almost unanimously approved of the task force’s mission.

Here at Ames First, we have already been working to help young readers by having book drives, offering reading tutoring, and having a summer reading program. But we want to do more! We want to help the Iowa Conference reach their goal of 1,000,000 books donated between now and Annual Conference 2017. To do this, you will start to hear about different opportunities to purchase books, donate gently used books, more tutoring and reading opportunities, and so much more! We hope to have ALL members at Ames First take part in some way or another and join the Bishop and all Iowa United Methodist in helping young people move from poverty to Opportunity.

For more information, contact Nicole Smith, Director of Christian Education at 515-232-2750.

–excerpts taken from the Iowa Conference page