In 2020, roughly one in four Louisiana students still lack access to the internet. In response to this barrier and the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, LEH’s PRIME TIME Family Reading program has been adapted into PRIME TIME First Aid Kits, all-in-one boxes of books and supplies that will be mailed directly to families. Applications to receive a First Aid Kit are open now.
Made possible by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the CARES Act, PRIME TIME First Aid kits are based on LEH’s 30-year-old intergenerational reading and discussion program, PRIME TIME Family Reading. Designed to be delivered and implemented when in-person programs are not possible, each kit includes books, supplies and a parent-focused discussion and activity guide that provides support for at-home implementation of PRIME TIME’s humanities-centered methodology.
“When our ordinary lives are disrupted by extraordinary events—and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has certainly been an extraordinary disruption—access to books, and the opportunity to explore difficult experiences in a safe and loving environment, can be vital supports,” said Sarah DeBacher, director of curriculum and content development for PRIME TIME Family Reading.
PRIME TIME First Aid Kits were first piloted in 2016, when families displaced by historic flooding in Baton Rouge received books and discussion guides at an area Red Cross shelter. The success of that pilot program reaffirmed the important role that reading and discussing the humanities themes found in children’s books can play during times of crisis.
The grant supports the production and distribution of 800 kits beginning Nov. 20, with one kit per household. Families in Louisiana, as well as community organizations who wish to distribute the kits in their communities, may apply at https://www.primetimefamily.org/kits/ or by calling (504) 523-4352 beginning Nov. 9. There is no cost to families. Distribution will occur on a rolling basis through Dec. 31, 2020, or until supplies are exhausted.
“As we get closer to the holidays, our hope is that the 800 families who receive the PRIME TIME Cares book series will find a sense of comfort from reading together, as well as an awareness that while this may be an unprecedented time, the struggles we now face connect us to other families, our communities and the past. The humanities have the capacity to help us heal."