Get Involved with Room to Read

posted on | updated on | by Zuri Girl

Image 27 copyReading. Whether it’s a thrilling crime novel, a medical prescription, the restaurant menu or a downright dirty gossip magazine, we take for granted how integral reading is to our daily lives.

This is where we introduce Katie Kurz, Chapter Leader of Room to Read’s Zurich Chapter who knows that while you’re enjoying a latte & 20 Minuten on the way to work, there are 60 million primary school-aged children around the world who will most likely never learn to read.

Wow! Shocking, right? Zuri Girl has been in on this awful secret since our 1st Birthday Party where we supported a Silent Auction for Room to Read, but are simply not satisfied knowing there’s much more we can do to help!


So…What can YOU do?

1460193_446350472132662_854835036_n1. Volunteer. Do you have time to give? Do you have a talent or skill to share? Get involved! They are currently looking for volunteers with experience in event planning, graphic design, communications or IT – email to get involved.

Zuri Girl Tip: There are two upcoming events planned for volunteers – 29 September “New Volunteer Info Evening” & 10 November “Deep Dive for Volunteers into Small & Successful Events”, RSVP to


2. Attend an Event. They host social gatherings like concerts and Beers for Books events (and it’s just in time for Booktober), run marathons together and have even dabbled in dancing! Follow their Facebook & Twitter for event announcements

Zuri Girl Tip: There will be “Artisanal Beers for Books” event on 13 November at Fork & Bottle.

3. Donate. No time, but a few extra francs? Skip Starbucks for 1 month and add up all those francs for a donation (sorry Starbucks…we do love you!)

Zuri Girl Tip: CHF 1 equals 1 book; CHF 250 enables a girl to go to school for a year. 

4. Sprechen Sie Deutsch? Help spread the word to locals and Swiss / German speakers. 


Why Room to Read?

10330339_498486630252379_6808197546508689986_nWe got to chatting with Katie who has had a soft spot for charity work as long as she can remember. She grew up in a philanthropic family, formed a special bond mentoring a young girl in NYC through the Big Brother Big Sister program, and was empowered to do more when she had the opportunity to spend time with teenage girls living in rural Ghana as part of her involvement in Credit Suisse’s Global Citizen Program, a skills-based training for the bank’s employees.

BUT what convinced her Room to Read was for her, was listening to Founder John Wood speak about his motivations for starting the non-profit organization at the Swiss Association of MBA’s for a breakfast session. She didn’t know how anyone could leave the room and not want to get involved. To know that education is an easy solution to help break the vicious cycle of poverty in just one generation was beyond exciting for her!

Katie’s convinced literacy is the “foundation for all future learning and starting point for solving so many of the world’s biggest problems”. Recognizing how fortunate she was to have access to education, Katie regularly engages people on the topic in the hopes of growing the global movement for literacy.

Room to Read is working around the globe to help fight literacy by partnering with communities and local governments across Asia and Africa to develop literacy skills and a habit of reading among primary school children, and support girls to complete secondary school with the life skills they’ll need to succeed in school and beyond.

Simply put, they are providing books, building libraries and sourcing teachers to children who otherwise would never have them.


What’s Next

RoomToRead-8662 copyWhen Katie isn’t working at Credit Suisse or preparing for the next Room to Read event, find her at her favorite place, Gärtnerei (their second location is opening this month just across from Hiltl and Jelmoli) on Stockerstrasse…better yet, meet her there for a fresh custom-made salad at lunch and learn how to get involved. She joined Room to Read to help the organization reach 10 million children by 2015.

Let’s help her get it going, girls!