Media & Events

Feeding young minds with literacy


Once you learn to read, you will be forever free. – Frederick Douglass


The Moonshot Literacy Movement has heeded Douglass’ quote and taken the literacy show on the road for the holidays. For the second year The Learning Alliance (TLA) has given Santa a little help, feeding the growing minds of children in Fellsmere with a visit from the TLA Moonshot Moment Bookmobile.

Volunteers from the Exchange Club of Fellsmere – sporting Santa hats – joined the ranks of The Learning Alliance to gift wrap and hand out more than 800 new books to about 75 families during the December Fellsmere Mobile Food Pantry distribution sponsored by the Fellsmere Action Committee Team and the Treasure Coast Food Bank at Mesa Park.

Families were able to choose from a selection of 400 pounds of new books donated by the Exchange Club of Fellsmere and visit the TLA Moonshot Moment Bookmobile while they waited for the food distribution to begin, an event that provided nourishment for their bodies and minds.

“We had 30 titles of books that we brought here today – new books that were ordered specifically for this event,” said Donna Remsnyder, an active member of the Fellsmere Community. “People chose books for their various age groups. We wrapped them, put name tags on them; and they took them right home and put them under the tree as gifts.”

Remsnyder, an Exchange Club Member, Moonshot Community Action Network leader, Literacy Services board member and volunteer added, “The Exchange Club has also given money to collaborate with various other groups: TLA Kindergarten Readiness, Literacy Services and the FACT Club. Everyone in Fellsmere is trying to work together to get books into the hands of children to stop intergenerational illiteracy.”

For that to happen, children need to see adults reading if they're going to mimic that and read also, noted Remsnyder pointing out that the TLA Moonshot Mobile Bookmobile offers books for children and adults so that everyone has the opportunity to read.

Exchange Club of Fellsmere President Sandi Gehrke, said: “We really believe that having a book as a gift is something we'd like to promote.” The Exchange Club's mission is centered around the prevention of child abuse. “Part of that would be having a strong family and part of that is learning to read.”

Volunteer Donna Keys explained that there is a direct correlation between child abuse and literacy. “Sixty-one percent of low-income families don't have books, and that just keeps the cycle going: illiteracy, poverty, aggression and we're back to child abuse again. This helps in that effort of prevention of child abuse in the future.”

“We are inspired by the work being done in Fellsmere to support literacy. It exemplifies a true Moonshot Community, where we take a stand for children and early education,” said Marie O’Brien, TLA’s Manager of Digital Media and Outreach. “Our literacy crisis is a complex problem, and it will take the entire community to reach our Moonshot Moment literacy goal.”

About The Learning Alliance

At The Learning Alliance, our work is predicated on the question: What does it take to achieve 90 percent literacy by third grade such that we create literate, compassionate, creative citizens who will improve our world? We are a catalyst for innovation and collaboration supporting the Moonshot Moment 90 percent literacy transformative goal by arming front-line educators, parents, and community leaders with the tools, knowledge, and support necessary for success. Through innovative, evidence-based approaches to teaching and learning, we empower teachers to transform children’s lives. Through partnerships with the School District of Indian River County, Indian River State College, community leaders and civic youth organizations in our community, we hope to create local solutions that can serve as a model for the nation.

For more information about The Learning Alliance, please visit or call 877-548-READ (7323).

Feeding young minds with literacy

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The Learning Alliance
2066 14th Avenue
Suite 102
Vero Beach, FL 32960

P.O. Box 2647
Vero Beach, FL 32961



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