Philanthropic ministry leader, Dianna Hobbs, launches 'Literacy Links' program to fight illiteracy among youth


Article By EEW Magazine // Literacy Initiatives

Dianna Hobbs, Founder of Empowering Everyday Women Ministries and first lady of City Church Buffalo, recently launched her Literacy Links Program.

It is a community initiative to fight illiteracy among minority youth in Buffalo, the third poorest city in America with populations of over 250,000, according to U.S. Census data from 2007.

Hobbs, an award-winning web publisher, author, and college-educated, home-schooling mother of four, is providing intensive vocabulary and reading sessions to children in Kindergarten through 3rd grade.

Literacy Links’ goal is to establish a strong literacy foundation for children that will lead to a future of reading proficiency, which is necessary for both spiritual growth and natural success. The program’s mission and mantra is “Building Future Leaders.”

What sets this literacy program apart is the novelty of the method of service delivery.  Hobbs does pop-up style sessions around the community to provide flexibility and convenience to families that may be dealing with transportation issues in the city.  

"The Literacy Links is closing the literacy gap that exists in the African American community among children in kindergarten through third grade, ages five through eight," explained Kenya Hobbs, pastor of City Church and husband of Mrs. Hobbs. "We have pored over reports from the Annie E. Casey Foundation regarding the literacy gains that need to be evident in children for reading proficiency by the third grade."

"We make it easier for families to experience these services in a convenient local area -- sometimes even in the home,” Mrs. Hobbs said in a statement released by her longtime publicist, Amy Bertinelli.

The ability to read by third grade is crucial to a child’s success in school, life-long earning potential, and their ability to contribute to the nation’s economy and its security.
— Annie Casey Foundation

The program founder's grassroots, hands-on approach is changing the grim literacy statistics in her city one child at a time, one family at a time.

According to the Annie Casey Foundation, which has done extensive research into literacy trends, millions of American children get to fourth grade without learning to read proficiently, which puts them on the high school dropout track. The ability to read by third grade is crucial to a child’s success in school, life-long earning potential, and their ability to contribute to the nation’s economy and its security.

Mrs. Hobbs’ approach to literacy was developed over the course of nearly two decades of home-educating the four children she shares with her husband of nearly 21 years.  “After making successful and passionate readers out of the Hobbs children, and seeing our oldest daughter transition from homeschool straight into college, earning a 4.0 GPA in her first semester, I believe we can help set other children in our community up for success as well.”

The Literacy Links Program relies on contributions of volunteers, donors and partners to fulfill its mission, which is why Hobbs said she is “tremendously thankful for the outpouring of support and book donations”—particularly from Project FLIGHT.

Project FLIGHT is a Buffalo-based not-for-profit organization devoted to promoting literacy in children and caregivers, through school and family literacy initiatives. It works collaboratively with practitioners, schools, community organizations and businesses locally, statewide, nationally, and internationally. The
organization provided a generous supply of books to Literacy Links through City Church and Empowering Everyday Women Ministries, a 501c3 nonprofit organization, to bolster its community efforts.