Aug 192010
Ghana kids books

Sweet Reading Club students from Living Faith

We have discussed where clothes you donate might end up, but what about the BOOKS you toss into the “Donation” bin?

Me, I only had a hazy idea of how my old tomes might be used.  Did they find a second life as firewood?  Toilet paper?  Food storage? Sometimes I worried about my cast-off literature’s fate.

And thus it was with absolute joy, during the three months I volunteered in Ghana, that I learned of Youth Creating Change of Ghana‘s genius Reading Club program.

Listen to how this Reading Club program works, because it’s a format that could conceivably be replicated in any youth center from Boston to Bolivia… and beyond!

1. Organizing a Central Library: Instead of just giving the donated books away to individual students, never to be seen again, YCC  meticulously organizes all its literary donations on handmade shelves in one central “YCC Library.”

YCC student, Shine, in front of YCC's library!

Hard-working Ghanaian YCC volunteers carefully track each book that is checked out and returned.

If you haven’t been to West Africa, it’s hard to realize how important this grass-roots library is.

Why?  Because Ghana, though it strongly believes in the power of education, has painfully few libraries.

And thus just like this, YCC has changed the face of its town for the better.

2. A systematic “Reading Club” structure for school groups. YCC has developed strong ties with 5 different local schools.  Few schools in Ghana have resources for books beyond government-issued academic texts, so they are thrilled at YCC’s offer to have up to 20 students check out one book each, per week from the YCC Library.

Ghana school

One of YCC's Reading Club schools: Sanity International

YCC then uses Ghanaian and international volunteer teachers (like me!) to lead discussions of the books twice per week.

On top of this adult-led literature time, Reading Club students are expected to meet on their own time outside of school at YCC classes to further analyze the books… and they do!

3. An giant incentive to really read. YCC’s Director, John, knows that sometimes people need a concrete reason to do something, even something as important as reading and discussing books.

Therefore, he and the YCC staff devised the brilliant Grand Quiz of Reading: an annual competition among all the 200 or so YCC Reading Club members in Sogakope, Ghana to see which students could answer the most questions about the library’s literature!  Do read the article if have a chance, because it was one of the most remarkable educational demonstrations I have ever seen… and it had a dancing intermission!  Ever since the first Grand Quiz, Volta Region schools have been scrambling to join the Reading Club program.

Ghana school

Hooray for YCC's genius Reading Club program!

And thus, let this article leave you with the following thought: there are remarkable people in this world who are working extremely hard, for very little (or no) money, in order to boost the education and opportunities for hundreds of youth in their small town.

And know this: if any of the books you’ve donated had the luck to be matched with a program as great as the YCC of Ghana Reading Clubs, and if books had the magic power to smile… your books would be grinning from spine to corner right now!


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  39 Responses to “YCC Ghana’s Genius Reading Club Program”

  1. After reading this article, I am going to try to donate books that I’ve read and really liked to help the children in Ghana. They seem to love reading because of the programs and book clubs they have. I hope this article also inspires other people to help out.

  2. I think that this article was great. I also like the idea that these books were donated to kids in need instead of them going to waste.

  3. I love this article! It looks like they really like the books we donate to them. I am happy to see they have the ability to enjoy having the opportunity to read like we do.

  4. It was interesting for me to read this article. I say this because there are many selfish people out there in the world who don’t care about anyone not even the children without anything. In this article these people have a heart because instead of being selfish with the books they are being selfless by making a better future for others by accepting the YCC’s offer by letting 20 students each pick out one book per week from their libraries. With this I must conclude that I would be more then glad to donate books to places in Ghana and hope for more libraries to be built

  5. Wow! I think it felt good knowing what happen next after giving a donation, like books. Seeing the pictures of these happy kids with the books that people donated help me realized how much each individual can help a lot in this world, even if it’s just a small thing.

  6. It is great to know that the kids in Ghana are getting the education they deserve because of books that we donate to them. It looks like they enjoyed reading them!

  7. This article is wonderful! I love the fact that book donations are actually doing something to change the world. Kind of like how Malala said “if people had more education we could stop wars.” This really inspired me to donate more books than I usually do, in order for these kids to get more amazing books. Thank you for opening my eyes and making me see that books really do matter and that we shouldn’t take them for granted.

  8. Interesting! Now when ever I donate a book I’ll remember that it might go to kids in Ghana. I think that this is an important article because kids are going out and making a library for them selves. I think that this is interesting because instead of keep the books for themselves the kids are creating a library of books so that kids all over can read different books instead of reading just one. It’s really great to know that these kids, with help of adults, are making a change in their area.

  9. I think that it’s wonderful that there is people who care for the children of Ghana’s education.

  10. Hi Mrs. Marshall.
    This article is very inspiring to me and many others. It tells us to help those in need and shows how kids stand up for their education and how they’re really passionate about making it happen! The YCC program looks like it helped a lot of people.

  11. It is so surprising that Ghana barely contains any libraries, but they still have different competitions, reading clubs, and reading programs. I would be very happy to donate some of my books to these people.

  12. I always wonder where my old books go and who do they go to. It’s really cool that some ones old stuff can improve a children’s education and that children are getting the education they deserve. Thanks for sharing (:

  13. It’s like I’m in the 3 Cups of Tea again! 1 cup of tea: you’re a stranger.

    2 cups of tea: you’re a friend.

    3 cups of tea: you’re a FAMILY!

  14. It’s good to know people out there are fighting for children’s education. I hope this inspires other to help out too.

  15. This was very sweet and thoughtful because many people in the world struggle with getting supplies for school and some don’t realize what they have and what others don’t.

  16. I think it is so great that people donate their books. The YCC is a wonderful program that can help children learn more.

  17. Hi Ms. Marshall, I found this article possibly one of the most interesting of your articles about your trip to Ghana. I think it is great that you got the opportunity to voulenteer in this program. I was suprised about how much the books actually meant to the students in Ghana compared to how some students in America may complain that they have to read a book. I didn’t realize how much of an impact it made on students when you donate books.

  18. Wow! I guess kids really do enjoy reading books and trying to help their community. The kids really do care about their education a lot. I guess that the YCC program is a great program because it influences people to help others and it also shows people the importance of education.

  19. Hi Mrs. Marshall! I really love this article and how much people care about each other. I also hope that more people can do things like the YCC does.

  20. Hi Mrs. Marshall! I really love this article and how much people care about each other’s education. I also love how simple it is to help out! The YCC seems like an amazing group that are really caring.

  21. Wow! I can’t believe what the YCC has done to provide books for these kids to read and enjoy. I also like how the program also helps kids have fun and learn with competition and reading. I truly think the YCC is fabulous.

  22. I am amazed to see this program filled with all those students. I am mostly thoughtful of how hard these students work even though they are not earning anything from it other than knowledge. I think that it is good to know that our books that we donate are going to a good cause to help these students in Africa have a good time doing fun activities at the program. It seems fun for them and it was really starting to attract more children to join the program meaning that there will be even more people in the club. I think that this club is a great idea it also brings the schools together creating strong bonds and the students can make more friends and have a good time as they learn and be able to fully be a part of something great.

  23. Glad to know these students are getting the education they need, especially with great volunteers who make this possible. With what stereotypes I’ve seen about Africa on the Internet, this really warms my heart to see that people care. I hope more libraries can be made involving the YCC and other programs. 🙂

  24. The YCC program is actually very inspiring. It feels so good to know that the kids of Ghana are receiving a good education. It also feels very good to know that there are people that try to make a difference still.

  25. Wow! It surprised me when you said that there was a low amount of libraries in Ghana. Though, I liked how the YCC gave the donated books to the library. I also liked how the make this huge quiz on the libraries literature; that’ds really smart how they did that cause now kids that go there would want to read more to win!

  26. I think that the YCC program is not only a great way to influence others to help people, but to increase the importance of education as well. I also am so happy that the Ghana students got a chance to have a good education.

  27. Hello, please i have a 5 year old boy who is very much interested in reading and I want to develop that passion. Kindly help me find a reading club in Accra-Ghana that he can attend to better this passion

    • That is wonderful you want to develop reading in your son! Unfortunately, I do not have any contacts in Accra but if you look I’m sure you will find some! Best of luck!

  28. My name is Ibukun Oni from Nigeria, i am applying for an Internship training for 2mths in Ghana,through the body named “AIESEC”. I love reading and i want to also encourage others to read. i would like to be a volunteer in your organisation when i come over

  29. Hi friends,

    • Thanks for making contact, Godfred! I’m back in Boston, so you should contact the heads of YCC Ghana directly through their website: . Click on the “Contact” page for the email address. Do be advised that they have a waiting list of schools hoping to join the program, but it would be great to start forming a partnership!

  30. Excellent article Lillie. Hooray for the YCC Kids Club and the teachers. Keep up the good work.
    Love, Granny

  31. Hi- How are your Ghana students getting on in the UK?

    • It has been a LOOOONG, LOOOONG, dramatic process, but they miraculously did it! I will be explaining the whole thing soon in a new post, but know for now that it took a million pieces coming together! Wise question.

  32. Hey Lillie, just discovered your site from the everything everywhere forums. Loving it!!!! Subscribed, and hope to read more. Take care, Phil

    • Phil, thanks so much!!! I see you are also a traveling teacher… hooray! Do be in touch, and do please help spread the word about this site 🙂

    • Right on for being a traveling teacher! I just added your site to my links page!

  33. Great post!! It’s amazing what those donations have turned into!

    Long live the Grand Quiz! Long live Ghana!

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