USD 475 receives grant from Dollar General Literacy Foundation to support literacy at detention facility

Left to Right: Instructor Donna Shell, Lead Instructor John Davis, and Instructor Cathy Rankin hold check with library bookshelves in background

Geary County Schools USD 475 recently received a $3,000 grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation to support its student literacy initiative at the North Central Kansas Regional Juvenile Detention Facility in Junction City.

The grant is primarily being used to expand the book selection of the facility’s library to better meet the diverse needs of the students. The library is overseen by USD 475.

“The importance of libraries in juvenile detention centers cannot be overemphasized,” said Donna Shell, an instructor at the facility. “Books keep students mentally occupied and entertained instead of staring at concrete walls and making trouble.”

According to Shell, the link between literacy and juvenile incarceration is heavily documented. Regular testing at the facility has shown that most of the students in its Secure Care Center have reading deficits, some at four or more levels below their grade.

“Due to factors that cause the students to miss school—whether incarceration, skipping classes, or running away—their education is continually interrupted, and this magnifies the factors contributing to their high-risk status,” said Cathy Rankin, another instructor at the facility.

“Thanks to Dollar General, we can do a better job of addressing these issues in our facility,” said Shell. “The students love new books, and it is wonderful to see them getting excited and talking about the new selections this grant provides.”

“Having a wide variety of books keeps them reading and, in turn, increasing their reading levels,” said Rankin.

The Dollar General Literacy Foundation provides grant funding to support literacy and education initiatives serving individuals of all ages. The Foundation funds nonprofit organizations, schools and libraries within a 15-mile radius of Dollar General stores in the states in which they operate.

(PHOTO: Left to Right, Instructor Donna Shell, Lead Instructor John Davis, and Instructor Cathy Rankin receive grant check from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation.)

For inquiries, please contact Marcia Locke, Communications Coordinator, Geary County Schools USD 475 marcialocke@usd475.org