Poverty to Opportunity

Change a Child's Story Flyer/Goal Worksheet

Please download the flyer and goal worksheet and use to help you get started. Change a Child’s Story is about setting audacious goals that stretch congregations to give and connect in new ways. Change a Child’s Story is about creating new partnerships in the community and new relationships with struggling kids.



We Need Everyone to Get Involved
Fill out the 
Pledge Card and Send it in!

 Email to: jmgerot@lakeodessa.net

Or mail it to:

Marsha Gerot
20858 T Avenue
Conesville, IA 52739


Iowa Statistics

Do you have fond memories of your favorite children's book? Sadly Iowa's kids are not all developing the reading skills they need for success.  Check out Iowa's Stats.  

Get Started-Use These Resources

Get your church involved! Here is a list of literacy resources and program and individual to contacts for ideas.

Need a Connection? 
Share Ideas, Stories and Successes

Visit the Change a Child's Story Facebook page  

Tell us your story! 

Click here to read or share how churches are connecting with Change a Child's Story

Book Stickers

We are excited to share with you another resource for Change a Child's Story.  As you are purchasing and collecting brand new books for children in your community, you may consider adding a book sticker inside each book.  What a great way to connect families back to your congregation and highlight the work you are doing with the Bishop's initiative.  
The price for the stickers is very competitive and all you need to do is give them a call and place the order.  They will personalize the high quality full-color sticker with your church's name and the Change A Child's Story logo. Just let them know you are a United Methodist Church in Iowa and would like to order book stickers.
PC Print Center West in Urbandale 

Facebook Graphics

Share this graphic on your Facebook wall! Feel free to also use it in your churches as you are sharing information about the initiative. #givebooksgivetime #‎changeachildsstory

Educational Development Corporation is offering an exclusive 60% matching grant for new Usborne and Kane Miller books for Change a Child's Story.  The only qualifications to use the grant are as follows:
*minimum $250 per order
*Needs to be ordered by a member/clergy of a UMC in Iowa for the children of Iowa.
Other information about the grant:
*NO PAPERWORK!  Just fill out an order form!
*There is no cap to how much can be raised and matched by EDC
*The grant can be used as often as you would like during the initiative as long as it is a minimum of $250. 
*Orders will be processed the second and last week of the month.  
Website to look at the catalog: www.v3966.myubam.com
You can scroll to the bottom and download a PDF of the entire catalog, a mini catalog (best sellers and new titles) or use the subject search on the left side of the page after clicking on "shop" to browse on your own.  
Here is the 14 minute video of most of the suggested books and a bit about our books in general. 
Questions?  Ready to request order form?
Erin McGargill


Clck here for a map of churches supporting the initiative
Click here for a map of Churches Supporting the initiative!



Change a Child's Story Press Release - download here


Change a Child's Story

One million books and a million hours of reading with children – that’s the goal of Iowa United Methodists in the next two years in a new initiative called, “Change a Child’s Story.”

Nearly twenty percent of Iowa’s United Methodist churches have already committed to the effort.  More than 1000 books have been collected and individual and organizational partnerships are already forming. 

Some 1600 lay and clergy, representing Iowa Conference’s congregations and their 175,000 members, unanimously and enthusiastically endorsed the effort to make a difference in the lives of Iowa children at the recent statewide meeting,

In 2012, roughly 1 in 4 Iowa fourth-graders scored below proficient level on the state reading test. Research indicates that a quarter of kids who are behind in reading by the 4th grade will eventually drop out of school, making them more likely to experience other hardships, including jail time. The academic and economic futures of almost 90,000 young Iowans are at risk. 

“Almost anyone can read to a child and help that child to read back to them,” said the Rev. Clint Twedt-Ball of the Poverty to Opportunity task force, created last year to help identify ways the church can lead and facilitate anti-poverty measures.

He said “providing kids living in poverty with books seemed like a good start,” but the idea goes far beyond collecting books and giving them away. 

“This is something that we all can be a part of – changing a child’s life by helping a child to be able to read,” said Iowa United Methodist Bishop Julius C. Trimble.  “It’s not about politics.  It’s about a passion for children and closing the gap between those who are in poverty and those who succeed in the educational journey of life.”

“We want these books to be a way that churches connect with kids in their neighborhood and their community,” said Twedt-Ball. “That’s where the second part of the goal comes in, to invest a million hours in these children’s futures. Reading is a great way to build relationships.”

The task force will be working to help churches get involved by connecting them to local resources and agencies. “In some places, it’s going to make the most sense to connect with a school, in other places it’s going to make more sense to connect with a non-profit. And in some churches, they already have amazing programs that are happening, so it’s just strengthening their own program,” he said.

“We are excited about the Iowa United Methodist Church putting a plan into action to support struggling readers,” said Becky Miles-Polka.  The senior consultant and Iowa lead to the Campaign for Grade Level Reading added, “Reading is an urgent issue that has a direct impact on children’s ability to succeed.  We look forward to this partnership growing.”

Video of the Poverty to Opportunity task force presentation is available at: https://vimeo.com/130565786


We are excited to offer a new item to help launch your "Change a Child's Story" campaign. These t's are available in white or heather gray, short or long sleeves for only $15 each. 





Contacting us

The Iowa Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church
2301 Rittenhouse St. Des Moines, IA 50321 | (515) 974-8900 | communications@iaumc.org