Goal of Cops 'n Kids
The program goal is to distribute 5,000 books annually to children in the Central District of Cedar Rapids which encompasses Taylor, Wellington Heights, MoundView, Oakhill-Jackson, and the Northwest Neighborhoods. The following elementary schools are located in this area: Johnson, Garfield, Grant Wood, Harrison, Taylor, and Arthur, along with middle schools, McKinley, Roosevelt, and Franklin. These 5,000 books are intended to be placed in the hands of at-risk children, the ones who need them most, and who might not otherwise have the opportunity to have a book they can call their own. More books in more hands translates to higher literacy over time.
Officer Reading Program
The Cedar Rapids Police Department offers a monthly school classroom reading program at Johnson, Taylor and Harrison Elementary Schools. Cedar Rapids Police Officers attend select elementary classes and read various books and stories. With Quota International's assistance, each child is provided a book.
Reading Corner Locations
Quota International and the Cedar Rapids Police Department have set up four Reading Corners in Cedar Rapids. The idea behind the Reading Corners is to provide a place where kids can go and select a book and take it home to either read and return, or keep for their very own.
- Community Connections Center, 1501 1st Avenue SE
- HD Youth Center, 1445 Mt. Vernon Road SE
- Northwest Neighborhood Resource Center, 1442 Ellis Boulevard NW
- Groundswell, 201 3rd Avenue SW
While attending Quota International’s Annual Convention several years ago, the Cops ‘n’ Kids Reading Program was presented as having a positive impact on the Racine, Wisconsin community where it had been started. A police officer named Julia Burney had the vision to begin a program of distributing books to youngsters while police officers were on their routine patrols. Hearing of Julia’s success, other cities including Bethlehem, PA, began similar programs. As Quota International of Cedar Rapids learned more about the program, interest grew with our members in Cedar Rapids. And a local Cops ‘n’ Kids program was born. Our original plan was to target at-risk children and those in families who are otherwise economically constrained and expand their potential through the gift of a book.
About the same time we started talking about a Cops ‘n’ Kids program for Cedar Rapids, we began hearing about Operation Weed and Seed, a U.S. Department of Justice strategy to target designated neighborhoods in cities so drug abuse, gang activity, and violent crime could be reduced. In applying for federal designation and funding, five areas in Cedar Rapids were listed: Mound View, Oakhill/Jackson, Wellington Heights, Taylor and the Northwest Area. Crime data in those areas indicated criminal activity was increasing which results in increased risk factors for youths. In those same neighborhoods, the unemployment rate and children on free or reduced lunches were significantly higher than in other parts of the city. And, in educational test scores, we were seeing a direct correlation between poverty and crime, and subsequently literacy. Therefore, Cops ‘n’ Kids targets those five areas that have the highest crime rates, with the highest percentage on free or reduced lunches and the lowest parental education levels.