Do things because they are hard – our magazine literacy moonshot

by John Mennell
foot-print-iconI just received my google chromecast and fired up a favorite speech on YouTube to try it out – President Kennedy’s speech at Rice University about rocketing to the moon.

William Bradford, speaking in 1630 of the founding of the Plymouth Bay Colony, said that all great and honorable actions are accompanied with great difficulties, and both must be enterprised and overcome with answerable courage…But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic.
WE choose to go to the moon. WE choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win…

John Kennedy
This challenge – to do things because they are hard – drives to be all it can be.
We have embarked on our own moonshot with Magazine Harvest – a nationwide campaign to channel millions of available magazines into the hands and homes of at-risk children and families via the vast network of food bank warehouses, food pantries, and nutrition and job training programs – so feeding children and families hungry to read.
During recent meetings with local literacy agencies, we’ve heard many times that reading materials for children “fly off the shelf,” which is wonderful, but presents two hard challenges that we need to rise to meet in order to fulfill our promise.
1. Although there are millions of magazines available for literacy throughout the supply chain – children’s magazines – which are so transformative for establishing a life-long love of reading – are more difficult to procure. Help us to meet this challenge.
2. Although children’s reading materials move quickly from shelf to hands and homes, we need new ideas and new methods for delivery of consumer publications, with as much transformative power, to teens and adults in literacy, mentoring, and job training programs. Help lead this quest.
Join with us to do these things – not because they are easy, but because they are hard.