ATLANTA - A former Atlanta Public Schools educator hopes to turn the page on childhood illiteracy.
Alongside her daughter, she's stepping up to open a book store to help disadvantaged children.
She said she worries many young people will remain in a 'vicious cycle' without more community involvement.
Corendis Hardy said they're committed to "saving" lives through literacy education. Right now, hardy and her daughter host community book fairs at The Mall West End.
She said now is the time for a place to call their own so they can provide more resources to young people who might not get it otherwise.
"I'm deeply concerned about disadvantage and at-risk children," Hardy explained.
As an educator for more than 30 years, hardy has seen firsthand how detrimental illiteracy can be for our youth.
"When they get to school, they're still frustrated there, they're already behind and that's that vicious cycle where they never quite get caught up," she said.
Hardy and her daughter spend several days each week selling books, with minorities at the forefront, inside the mall.
Whenever possible, they try to provide literacy education to children and adults, but they can only do so much in this space.
"That's why we need our store so we can have a place where we can offer tutoring and storytime. It's not just about selling books," she explained.
Now the mother-daughter duo's mission is to open their own inviting space that they said will allow them to empower their community through various programs like enrichment classes and educational workshops.
"When the parents are not strong readers, they cannot teach their children how to read. We're trying to get literature that, maybe, they can read. We're offering our services to help them if they need help, we're educating them on that," she mentioned.
They want to open the store either southwest or northwest Atlanta.
Hardy's focus is specifically geared toward children who live in socio-economically disadvantaged communities.
"I realized to get them engaged, they need to see themselves. They need to have stories about themselves and that's why I’m very selective about the books I choose," she said.
It's a variety that some parents tell us is missing elsewhere.
"You go to some of the book stores, they don't have a lot of the ethnic or even - cause I'm multi-racial, you don't see a lot of our stuff," Keonna Weeks, who stopped to pick up books for her grandchild said.
Hardy said the bookstore would also increase accessibility to books by authors and publishers who are often overlooked by mainstream literary organizations.
To find out more about Hardy's effort, click here.
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