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Meet Stan Tucker of Leap For Literacy

Today we’d like to introduce you to Stan Tucker.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Stan. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
August 31, 2015, I founded Leap for Literacy after a firsthand experience with the extraordinary lack of access to printed materials in at-risk communities. While teaching 2nd grade in one of those at-risk schools, I was faced with the devastating shame that my own students faced when they couldn’t afford to purchase books at the annual bookfair. Their apologetic voices and downturned eyes were the kick start I needed to begin a non-profit geared at literacy and access to literacy materials. I gathered texts and adopted acts of kindness as a type of currency to give students the opportunity to choose free books. But that was just the beginning.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The road has been bumpy! With any start-up business, for-profit, or non-profit, it takes funding to get rolling. When I started Leap For Literacy in 2015, I had no financial backing. In the first two years, I promoted Leap For Literacy in local schools during the day and in the evening, I worked fulltime in a restaurant to support myself and the organization. Let me tell you, money was tight! One evening while working in the restaurant, I had the pleasure of serving Zac Brown (of The Zac Brown Band) and his family. We began to talk about our passion projects, which both aligned with helping children. He gave me his number and told me to give him a call and maybe we could help each other out. Fast forward two years later, Zac donated the financial backing to really get my dream rolling! (Literally and figuratively) Also, in October of 2019, Ellen Degeneres flew me out to her show and surprised me with 25k for my organization! It was a bumpy start, but things are beginning to smooth out!

Leap For Literacy – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Leap for Literacy is a non-profit dedicated to increasing access to printed materials in our community. We run several literacy initiatives geared at book enjoyment, book ownership and even book authorship. Our goal is to help students engage with literacy but also teach them the importance of kindness. Because when we know better, we do better!

We currently have three running programs and one slated program. The Read-N-Roll: Kindness Counts! The program creates a partnership with an at-risk Metro-Atlanta school and sets into motion the teaching of acts of kindness and the recording of those acts. Then we check in monthly at the school where those kindness tickets are collected and traded in for the opportunity to take home their very own book from the Read-N-Roll bookmobile.

We also have a Share Your Story program that focuses on how I became an author with the purpose of sharing my father’s story but also to model for students how to become authors themselves. I share a read-aloud of my book Stan And The Man and then students are sent home with a writing process checklist and a blank book. The culminating event is an author’s celebration to share our hard work and professionally illustrate and publish one student’s book at the school.

Additionally, we have Stories with Stan program. This is a virtual storytime that students can listen to Stan, or guest reader, share a read aloud. Students are able to interact with the text through new vocabulary, exposure to new authors, texts, and genres, hearing the fluency of reading, and just the simple joy of a new story!

I’m proud of all of the young authors we’ve inspired to share their stories and all the acts of kindness we’ve inspired.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
My proudest moment has been using my personal book (Stan and The Man) to inspire students to share their stories. This year we are professionally illustrating three books of kids that I inspired. It feels good to know that we are creating young entrepreneurs (authors).

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Aiva Genys

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Meet South Atlanta Series Sponsor:

B. Octavious Sims: I am an author, screenwriter and half duo of SimGriggs Productions. We specialize in stage plays, films and just overall love what I do. I love doing funny videos and during this quarantine we went through TikTok has been my best friend 😂

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