September 10th, 2020

In today’s digital age of #socialdistancing, word-of-mouth may seem like the least effective method of finding new donors. This, however, is not true—and we have proof!

Adam Arkfeld, President and Founder of ParaCore—a digital marketing agency—has been doing business with Bob Figular, President of Mariners Learning System—an online Coast Guard approved Captain’s licensing school—for several years. Looking for a way to give back to ParaCore for their incredible work, Bob headed to their website to hunt for clues.

In 2018, ParaCore committed to funding two new schools, with a goal of donating $22,000. ParaCore highlights this partnership with RBBB on their “Giving Back” webpage.

This is where Bob discovered Read Better Be Better and saw an opportunity to help a community that needs fast-acting literacy support. Compelled by RBBB’s mission, Bob knew the best way to pay it forward to Adam and his team was to pay it forward to the youth in Arizona through Read Better Be Better.

Bob reached out to Adam and Adam reached out to Sophie—Bob committed to giving $5,000, and thus a new, amazing trifold partnership was formed.

Within the current, rather negative, global landscape, this story brought a moment of gratitude and positivity to the RBBB team, invoking inspiration and continued dedication to the thousands of students RBBB will be serving this school year. RBBB needs donations now more than ever—the learning of all Arizona students has been detrimentally affected as a result of the school closures in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This impact has been especially harsh for low-income students, who often don’t have access to the Internet, technology devices, and additional educational resources in the home that many schools are relying on to deliver distance learning—compounding already existing learning and achievement gaps.

According to the recent McKinsey & Company study entitled “COVID-19 and Student Learning in the United States: The Hurt Could Last a Lifetime,” “The average loss in our middle epidemiological scenario (return to in-class schooling in January 2021) is seven months. But Black students may fall behind by 10.3 months, Hispanic students by 9.2 months, and low-income students by more than a year. We estimate that this would exacerbate existing achievement gaps by 15 to 20 percent.”

For a state that is historically ranked in the bottom of the nation for public education, this scenario could negatively impact the career potential and possibilities of many students, especially those that are already behind.

The 10 districts and 62 schools RBBB partners with have asked for RBBB programming to continue during these uncertain times in order to provide their students with a program that helps students improve comprehension, understanding, and enjoyment of reading. RBBB is committed to ensuring students don’t get left behind, developing programming that can be done both digitally, as well as offline.

Now is the time to provide support to our communities, and we could not be more grateful for Bob Figular and Adam Arkfeld. Connections are crucial, and their gifts show dedication during a time when forward-thinking generosity is crucial—generosity that helps provide much-needed literacy support to Read Better Be Better students and families.

Do you know someone you can connect with Read Better Be Better? Bob and Adam’s story is proof that word-of-mouth through trusted friends and coworkers is more powerful than we all could have imagined.

To donate today or connect a friend, visit our donation page using the link below.

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