‘We want books in the hand of children:’ Horry County nonprofit encourages education for kids in rural areas

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) – Just near the Frazier Community Center in Horry County stands a playground for kids to enjoy during the summer – along with a little free library for children in the Bucksport community to enjoy.

Wallace Evans Jr., founder and CEO of A Father’s Placeput the library in place for kids to learn and enjoy literature during the pandemic.

“This is part of a small effort to put books in the hands of children,” he said. “The more books in the hands of children the better they are able to appreciate the great gift of reading and learning. Literacy is a foundation of academic success.”

The library offers books for toddlers and teenagers and features work from local authors like April Fore. There are also academic books to choose from along with books written in Spanish.

Evans mentioned that having a diverse library will help kids expand their perspective and see more minority groups represented. He also said education in rural areas has been a need for a long time, especially for those with limited internet access.

“Virtual has not been the best, especially for low income and low wealth community that is placing our kids to a disadvantage,” said Evans.

A 2021 Pew Research study shows that about a quarter of Americans haven’t read a book in whole or in part in the past year. While several demographics make up the list, Hispanic and Black adults combined for over half of the results of those who hadn’t read a book in the past 12 months.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development also found that half of U.S. adults can’t read a book written at an eighth-grade level.

Evans said he thinks the success of a child’s education relies on their parents, especially a father’s devotion to his children.

“Dads can make a difference,” he said. “Reading with a child is a great bonding activity and provides an opportunity for men to spend time with their children.”

Evans says he’s looking to expand the project forward to anyone who needs a small library in their community.

People can also donate books to other communities by dropping any book at A Father’s Place’s Conway location on Wright Boulevard.

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