After fifteen years of service to the students of New York, Mimi Levin Lieber decided not to seek re-election as a member of the New York State Board of Regents. Instead of enjoying her retirement, Lieber developed a vision of how families and communities could get involved and address illiteracy in the state. Using her many years of experience as a sociologist and social psychologist, Lieber worked tirelessly to develop an organization that would build the capacity of parents and the neighborhoods around elementary schools to support young children and their schools.
Literacy, Inc. (LINC), the organization Lieber conceived and launched, is now in its second year of operation. LINC's innovative approach brings school staff, parents and representatives of local community based organizations into collaboration to plan and implement reading partner programs for children in grades K-3. Many children in the schools LINC serves read below grade level. Volunteer reading partners spend time with young children each week providing additional time to read and enjoy books. Reading partners, recruited in the neighborhood around each school, is central to LINC's innovative approach. Last year, close to 2,000 children read over 24,000 books with over 700 volunteers in LINC programs.
Lieber is directly responsible for LINC's success. The program is her vision and it is her special skills that keep LINC on course. As President of the Board, Lieber is involved in programmatic and administrative activities, in meetings with community leaders and organizations, in planning for LINC's expansion to more schools and in fundraising. She has been a crucial participant in successful efforts to raise funds from the U.S. Department of Education, the New York State Department of Education, foundations, corporations and individuals.
LINC links school, family and community in an effort to ensure that all children read well by grade three. Literacy, Inc. helps build the community's capacity to support profound change in children's expectations about their abilities to read. LINC unites concerned citizens and groups around supporting learning activities for families and around developing volunteer reading partner programs for every child in kindergarten through grade three.
Lieber inspires others with her deep commitment to the children of New York City, with her unbounded energy for the work she's performing. She provides a constant vision of what is possible for the children of New York City and of what it means to commit oneself to a deeply felt mission.