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Growing Kings awarded $4,000 grant for youth literacy program

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Special to The Times

Tal Simpson, attorney at Balch & Bingham LLP, reads a magazine with one of the Growing Kings students. (Provided photo)
Tal Simpson, attorney at Balch & Bingham LLP, reads a magazine with one of the Growing Kings students. (Provided photo)

The Dollar General Literacy Foundation recently awarded Growing Kings a $4,000 grant to support youth literacy. This local grant is part of $4.5 million in youth literacy grants awarded to approximately 1,000 organizations across the 43 states that Dollar General serves. Given at the beginning of the academic school year, these grants are aimed at supporting teachers, schools and organizations with resources to strengthen and enhance literacy instruction.

“Literacy is one of the primary focuses of the Prince Charming program as it is an issue in every state, especially in Alabama and in Birmingham City Schools. We address this focus as early as the 4th grade,” said Marcus Carson, executive director of Growing Kings.

The Prince Charming program is a school-based program specifically designed for young males with a focus on mathematics, literacy, and critical thinking. The program encompasses a weekly curriculum that engages with over 45 4th and 5th grade students at six Birmingham City Schools. The goal of the program is to encourage each student to develop a habit for reading and possess a deeper appreciation for math.

Through Prince Charming, students are provided with annual subscriptions to Sports Illustrated for Kids and National Geographic Kids magazines. These magazines provide articles and passages of interest to our young male students. “By awarding these grants, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation is committed to making a meaningful impact in our local communities,” said Todd Vasos, Dollar General’s chief executive officer. “These grants provide funds to support youth literacy initiatives and educational programs throughout the communities we serve to ensure a successful academic year for students.” Committed to helping increase the literacy skills of individuals of all ages, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation has awarded more than $127 million in grants to nonprofit organizations, helping nearly 7.9 million individuals take their first steps toward literacy or continued education since its inception in 1993.

The Dollar General Literacy Foundation awards grants each year to nonprofit organizations, schools and libraries within a 20-mile radius of a Dollar General store or distribution center to support adult, family, summer and youth literacy programs. The Dollar General Literacy Foundation also supports customers interested in learning how to read, speak English or prepare for the high school equivalency test. At the cash register of every Dollar General store, customers may pick up a brochure with a postage-paid reply card that can be mailed in for a referral to a local organization that offers free literacy services.