Dreambox project helps kids, adults gain literacy in USF neighborhoods

- A new community project aims to increase literacy for those living near the University of South Florida.

Melody Alao knows the importance of reading.

"Education is power," Melody said. You just have to read, so that you can have more knowledge."

That's why you can often find her in front of a Dreambox - a small, wooden, mini-library with free books to promote literacy in the community.

"It's a great advantage to the people living in the community. It really, really helps. It's beneficial and I love the idea," Melody said.

Sarah Combs runs the USF area community re-development district, a non-profit group making life better for residents

"We really want to promote that throughout the community and ensure that residents are getting an opportunity to read and to learn how to read, and through these Dreamboxes. They are doing just that," Sarah said.

The program is simple. Just pick up a book and return it to the box when you're done. 

The Dreamboxes have another benefit, too.

"A large portion of the children in this community are teaching their parents how to read," Sarah said. "We think that exposing not only youth but adults to opportunities for literacy is critically important." 

Sarah says they could use more books written in Spanish and Creole.

"That's a population that's big in this community. We want to make sure that we have literature that they are able to read," Sarah said.

The Rotary Club of Tampa built the boxes. They have four in place right now but plan on another 10 in the future.

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