More than 12,000 books are in the hands of children as a result of Sydney’s Book Club, founded by Navy military spouse, mother of three, and entrepreneur Tiffany Dickerson.
Sydney’s Book Club, a 501c3 nonprofit, began with a book-themed birthday party for Dickerson’s oldest daughter, Sydney, and turned into a near-decade long undertaking that traveled with her family from Pennsylvania, North Carolina, to Virginia. At every duty station, Dickerson organized Sydney’s Book Club to not only give books to underprivileged children, but encourage parent-child interactions with pre-Kindergarten-aged children.
“At that age, they have this dire need or want to learn about anything,” Dickerson said. “Even if you’re reading it to them, they are soaking it up like sponges.”
During the development phase of the book club, research proved to Dickerson that parent-child interaction at a young age helps aid in the development of children. Even more, she realized that a lot of children are not prepared for kindergarten.
“Low income family kids aren’t hearing as many words as predominant families,” she said.
As a result, Sydney’s Book Club formed a mission to make sure all kids have access to books, giving every child the best chance at success in life and learning, including her own daughters. In fact, Sydney’s original role as eponym has evolved into much more.
“She’s becoming more of a leader,” Dickerson said. “When it comes to the book club, she has taken more ownership of what she wants to do and what she doesn’t want to do.”
At nine-years-old, Sydney is the proud face of the business—one can find a picture of her face stickered inside donated books, and she is also an energetic public speaker and idea generator for ways to give to more children.
Dickerson’s ultimate vision, though, is to have a Sydney’s Book Club on every military base possible. She recognizes that there are minimal extracurricular activities for preschool-aged children on military installations.
“It would also be great to have an extracurricular activity that they could look forward to where they could see their friends,” Dickerson said.
Dickerson cannot do that without help, though. Chapters of Sydney’s Book Club can be created no matter where someone is in the world, and doesn’t require much time to facilitate the biweekly book club meetings.
“It would be great if other military spouses can volunteer their time,” Dickerson said. “Help with the effort, increase literacy, and get other kids, as well as their own, prepared for kindergarten entry and for the socialization that is needed.”
People can start a book club chapter of their own, volunteer their time with existing chapters to help distribute books, engage with Sydney’s Book Club on social media, or make monetary donations via the website. If people cannot volunteer or donate, Dickerson said that she simply encourages parents to read to their children.
“As long as kids have access to books, they will venture to them, and they will open them up,” Dickerson said. “That starts an opportunity for you to read to them, for them to hear stories, for them to fantasize about being a character,or going to a place that they’ve never been. All that can happen through just opening a book.”
To learn more about Sydney’s Book Club, including ways to get involved, visit the group’s Facebook page.Read comments