Anisha Sinha, Executive Director, West Philadelphia Alliance for Children (WEPAC)
WEPAC is an organization devoted to promoting reading among elementary school children. Of the 237 public schools in Philadelphia, only seven have full-time librarians. A few schools have libraries and librarians supported by neighborhood organization.
WEPAC works with principals and teachers in specific schools to develop libraries. Currently 14 schools are being served, with the hope of serving 20 by the end of the next school year. The organization delivers books and coordinates volunteers to help in these individual schools. It requires $25,000 to open the library, though maintenance costs afterwards are much less.
WEPAC works with existing organizations, such as Team First Book Philadelphia, as well as with the Philadelphia school district itself.in order to reach its goals for the next two years, the organization must raise $200,000.
The organization may be supported by donations of supplies and books, by volunteer time, and by contributing the funding.
The current emphasis is on grades K-4.
It is difficult to evaluate the program, but surveys of teachers indicate that 70% of the teachers involved in the program see a positive impact on the children.