In traffic today, about a week after Beverly Bradley from Cops and Kids spoke to our club, I noticed a bumper sticker that read “BOOKS CHANGE LIVES”.  

If I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to hear Beverly speak last week about how over a million books have impacted children in our region, that simple message may not have resonated so deeply with me. 

If I haven’t been thinking more about Rotary’s area of focus - basic education and literacy - I might not have noticed the sticker as quickly. 

If I had never witnessed first hand how important it is to child for a grown up take time to share a book with them, I wouldn’t have believed it to be so true. 

I want to tell you about the day I understood what it meant to be a Rotarian. 

I had the opportunity to volunteer at our summer “feed and read” program a few years ago. We gave out brown bag lunches and books at Jefferson Elementary. We had a big cart of books for kids to take home and keep. A boy around the age of 9/10 had zero interest in the books. I invited him to come take a look at the books with me. He was hesitant and said he wasn’t very good at reading. I said one way to get better at something is to practice and that we could practice now if he wanted. He picked out an 1960’s, wilderness adventure type, chapter book for young readers. The hand drawn cover of a boy and dogsled team caught his eye. It was about a boy looking for gold in the mountains. He lit up.  

We took turns reading pages. He struggled but didn’t give up. We got through challenging words together. He saw that I messed up reading out loud too, and didn’t feel so bad about making mistakes himself. Before we knew it, time was up.  I asked him if he would continue reading at home. He said that he would and that he’d tell me more about the book when I saw him again. 

I left feeling that I had really connected him and that maybe he really would read that book.  I didn’t have the opportunity to see this boy again but I’d like to think for one day I made a difference. 

Beverly shared how the kindness of others made a difference to her as a child growing up with very little means. Her Mother and educators helped her to understand that while she didn’t have money, she had her mind, and that could take her anywhere.  Now her life’s work is to encourage young children to read and tap their minds to unlock potential. 

For all of you who listened to our program last week, I imagine you left feeling a true sense of why community service is so important. Perhaps you reflected on how a small gesture of kindness can mean the world to someone else.  Sometimes those gestures can be a pivot point in another person’s life

To learn more about Beverly and Cops and Kids Click Read More…

Ms. Beverly Donchez Bradley
City, State, Post, Country Phone
E-Mail Website
P.O. Box 1906
Bethlehem, PA 18016-1906 610-861-7561 610-217-9477 cell
Following a 30-year career as a business educator, Beverly Donchez Bradley entered retirement by joining the local chapter of the service organization Quota International. Organized in 1919, Quota International, Inc., with its motto "we share," was known for its service to deaf, hard-of-hearing and speech-impaired individuals, and disadvantaged women and children. As a child of poverty, Beverly and her four brothers were raised by a single mother. With her background, the idea of becoming a part of an organization whose focus was on disadvantaged women and children was the perfect venue for her to "make a difference" in retirement.
As a member of Quota International of Bethlehem, Beverly heard of their internationally adopted literacy initiative called Cops 'n' Kids, started by a police officer in Racine, Wisconsin. The program was designed to bring the gift of reading to children and to encourage positive relationships between children and police. Deeply touched by the passion of the program's founder, Beverly felt a need to establish a similar program in the Lehigh Valley. Her vision, however, was expanded to include the nurturing of a positive relationship between children and the entire community—and she embarked on a mission of "connecting kids and community through literacy."
Embraced by virtually every segment of the community, this award-winning program has been recognized and honored locally, nationally, and internationally; and it has been featured in local, state, national and international publications for its remarkable success. Having distributed more than 1,000,000 free books thus far (1,091,471 to be exact), Bradley's program has, without a doubt, changed the future for thousands of children. By organizing book distribution events and community reading celebrations, it has demonstrated to the children on the receiving end of this effort that they are valued— and it has provided the books that are necessary if they are to be successful.
Beverly believes that it does, in fact, take a village to raise a child. She also believes that educating the children of the world will result in profound changes. Her personal mission is to help others to bring together, in communities everywhere, those individuals who understand their responsibility to our future and to the future of our children.
" President of the Lehigh Valley Cops 'n' Kids Children's Literacy Program since 2003 “ former President of Quota International of Bethlehem
" former President of the Lehigh County Pennsylvania State Education Association of Retired Teachers
" served on the Executive Committee of the Eastern Region of the Pennsylvania State Education Association of Retired Teachers
" served as Vice-chair and on the Board of Directors for the Executive Service Corps of the Lehigh Valley
“ served on Quota International’s Disadvantaged Women and Children Service Committee
“ recipient of the Quota International Service Award in Goldcoast, Queensland, Australia, on behalf of the Lehigh Valley Cops ‘n’ Kids Program
“ recipient of the Best of Bethlehem Award
“ selected by the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce to be the recipient of their annual Snow Ball community fundraising event
" recipient of the Inez and Edward Donley Award for Children’s Advocacy
“ recipient of the Lehigh Valley Take the Lead Women of Distinction Award from the Girl Scouts
“ recipient of the Bloomsburg University Distinguished Service Award
“ recipient of the Bethlehem Education Association Friend of Education Award
“ featured in NEA Today, a National Education Association publication with a circulation of more than 3.2 million
“ featured in Pennsylvania State Education Association publication The Voice
“ recipient of the Pennsylvania State Education Association Human and Civil Rights Award
“ featured in the international publication Quotarian which was distributed in 14 countries
“ featured in Lehigh Valley Magazine as one of publication’s “Movers & Shapers” of the Lehigh Valley
“ recipient of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Citizen Crime Prevention Volunteer Recognition Award
“ recipient of the Colonial Association of Reading Educators Celebrate Literacy Award
“ recipient of the YWCA of Bethlehem Golden Laurel Award as Woman of the Year
“ recipient of the Priscilla Payne Hurd Award in recognition of the impact and influence the program has had upon the enhancement of life in our community
“ recipient of the Marcia L. Sayre Award for Community Service
“ recipient of the PBS39 Good Neighbor Award