Stan Tucker, founder of Leap for Literacy, had always wanted to be a principal.
Photo by: Paul Ward Photography
BY KATHRYN KICKLITER, FOR THE AJC - “My high school principal always told me ‘Hey, look I want you to come back and take over the reins when I retire,’ ” said Tucker. “He always encouraged and inspired me, and that’s what I wanted to do.”Teaching was his swag. He wanted to be the “kindergarten cop” for all the kids. Teaching at a Title I school emphasized life’s inequalities hitting his heart.
“Reading is pivotal to success,” he said.He saw kids that struggled in reading, had no books at home and those who could not afford to buy even a single book at the school’s book fair.
A culmination of having his apartment broken into and tires stolen off his “dream” car changed the trajectory of his life. It was time to move.His journey landed him in the world of books and in August of 2015 Tucker founded Leap for Literacy. The platform is built on literacy and thoughtfulness reaching out to an audience of students who attend Title I schools based in and around Atlanta.His bookmobile, Read n’ Roll, serves those in disadvantaged schools.
“Kindness is the currency used to purchase a book from the bus,” Tucker said. “What that means is that you have pay for your book with acts of kindness.”His program “Share Your Story” is open to all students – “because every kid needs to be encouraged to read no matter what socioeconomic background they are from,” he said.
Reading his book, Stan and the Man, to students, he tells his story about losing his dad when he was only eight years old. Tucker inspires students to tell their story by giving each child a blank book to write in.Leap for Literacy recently celebrated Leap Day with it’s first social at Camp Southern Ground to raise money to provide books for children.Among the activities that evening, the three students chosen from 400 as winners of “Share Your Story” were celebrated.
Riley Allen, Annalise Williams and Ja’kiah Chester will have their books illustrated.“Next year I want to donate 50,000 books and illustrate ten kids’ books,” he said. “With 50,000 books I hope I can inspire 1 million acts of kindness. I want to get the kids thinking about being kind.“I can’t imagine my life without Leap for Literacy,” said Tucker. “With this I can do life and social skills, teaching kids to be kind, being authors, sharing your stories … so there are so many things I can encompass outside of academics.”