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Rising Stars: Meet Chrishawndra Matthews

Today we’d like to introduce you to Chrishawndra Matthews.

Hi Chrishawndra, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
Literacy in the H.O.O.D. (Helping Out Our Disenfranchised) is a non-profit I founded located in Cleveland, OH. I am dedicated to helping build a culture of reading in Cleveland’s low-income neighborhoods. I founded my organization in 2017 due to my struggle to find adequate reading and language programs for my then 3-year-old son Derrick, this prompted me to start Literacy In The H.O.O.D. To date Literacy In The H.O.O.D has distributed over 100,000 books to those in need.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
This has been a journey, to say the least! The hardest obstacle we face is funding. Until recently I have been funding Literacy In The H.O.O.D out of my own pocket. The national coverage my organization started to receive last summer has brought in additional funding which has been great. We are kicking off fundraising efforts in November to raise money for a building. This will enable Literacy In The H.O.O.D. to expand our programs and reach and our missions to create a culture of reading in Cleveland’s low-income neighborhoods. My organization is very small I only have 1 part-time staff member besides myself. The rest of the help is from our volunteers who graciously donate their time to help. Despite that, we have been able to distribute over 100,000 books.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
Literacy In The H.O.O.D. (Helping Out Our Disenfranchised) is dedicated to helping build a culture of reading in Cleveland’s low-income neighborhoods. Our organization takes a two-generation approach to promote literacy while distributing hundreds of books at schools and community events. Understanding the value of being an insider in communities of need, the organization regularly attends food distributions and other assistance programs to hand out books to families and engage parents. Through this painstaking work, Literacy in the H.O.O.D. develops trust and explains to parents they can help their children thwart the school-to-prison pipeline and the urban achievement gap by helping them become confident readers.

Anyone interested in donating to help us in our efforts to get a building can donate at

Do you have recommendations for books, apps, blogs, etc?
Battlefield of the Minds by Joyce Meyers & Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis. Rachel and I will both be sharing our love of reading on the Kelly Clarkson Show later in the year.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Angelo Merendino
Literacy In The H.O.O.D

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1 Comment

  1. Deandre Bradford

    February 4, 2022 at 3:37 pm

    Good Day. We would like to recommend Barbara Bradford Williams of JBS lunch and literacy outreach program for kids. Located in Cleve, Ohio.
    Barbara open up a store front for children to receive meals, snacks, activities and programs . Free books and school supplies . She also offers a Kidz Zumba which is a hour workout with children as they dance away unhealthy pounds and get fit. Children come running thru the doors daily after school for homework assistance, snacks and treats.. Barbara has passed out over 50,000 books as well as over 650,000 snack and lunch bags

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