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BELIEVE and the KLA Foundation Team Up to Help Kids Celebrate National Reading Month

Apr 5, 2022 3 min read

KLA’s BELIEVE (Black Employees Leading in Inclusion, Excellence, Vision and Education) employee resource group (ERG) is all about taking action. To advance KLA’s inclusion and diversity goals, BELIEVE worked with the KLA Foundation to engage children in underserved communities by distributing books to celebrate National Reading Month in the U.S. in March.

BELIEVE and the KLA Foundation – which is committed to advancing humanity and creating a more equitable, inclusive and accessible world – collaborated with community organizations and diverse booksellers in the Metro Detroit and South Bay/Silicon Valley areas to encourage reading and provide positive messages of diversity, self-image and self-worth to school students.

“Education is one of KLA Foundation’s three pillars and a major area of focus for projects and investment. The book giveaways in underrepresented communities of California’s South Bay/Silicon Valley and Metro Detroit areas are excellent examples of the foundation’s mission in action. They also demonstrate the tremendous value and positive impact that our employees can have in their communities when empowered to get involved in causes close to their hearts.”

Jen McCollum, executive director, KLA Foundation

Celebrating the I Am Enough story at KLA started in February when the BELIEVE ERG produced a heartwarming and entertaining video featuring children of KLA employees reading the New York Times best-selling book I Am Enough by actress and activist Grace Byers to celebrate Black History Month. The video, shared with KLA employees in the U.S., shows engaged kids reading aloud the uplifting and motivating book about female empowerment, respect for diversity, embracing differences and the importance of self-worth and kindness to others.

“Something that we work on a lot with our students is self-confidence. I think this book really encourages students to see all facets of themselves, to love every bit of themselves, and motivates them to get back up even if they fall. It helps them to know that even if things happen that are bad, they can still succeed because of who they are as a person, and they have confidence in themselves.”

Sam Schubert, ACM* at Burns Elementary-Middle School
(*AmeriCorps Member)

BELIEVE formulated a plan, with the KLA Foundation’s assistance, to help Black-owned businesses and put this powerful and inspirational book directly into the hands of children in two of KLA’s local communities.

In Detroit, BELIEVE turned to Source Booksellers, a prominent independent bookstore in the city’s Midtown district, and purchased 172 hardback copies of I Am Enough from business owner and retired educator Jane Webster Jones. BELIEVE then partnered with City Year Detroit an educational nonprofit that provides students in systemically under-resourced schools with the extra support they need to graduate, for distribution due to its strong relationships with local schools. In turn, City Year distributed one book to all 172 K-8 classrooms in the Detroit School District for teachers and students to enjoy.

“City Year Detroit is committed to the success of all Detroit Public Schools students, and we believe the development of youth skills and mindsets contributes to strong, vibrant communities — outcomes that benefit all of us. When we learned of the KLA Foundation and BELIEVE initiative to celebrate National Reading Month, and how closely our respective missions are aligned, we were all too eager to partner up and assist KLA volunteers with this important project.”

Andrew Stein, vice president and executive director of City Year Detroit

In the Bay Area, BELIEVE purchased 60 hardback copies of I Am Enough from Ashay By The Bay, an independent bookseller in Vallejo specializing in African-American and multi-cultural children’s books. The group then collaborated with Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco to distribute 60 books to its 11 clubs for use by elementary and middle-school students. Each book is stamped with a QR code directing readers to the BELIEVE-produced video on YouTube, where they can watch and share the video together and access related resources and curriculum suggestions related to the book.

Feeling inspired? Visit the KLA Foundation to learn more about KLA’s efforts to make a difference in the lives of people in the communities where we work and live across the globe.

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