Washington, DC—Dr. Virginia Lee of Capital Oral & Facial Surgery Center, located in the DuPont Circle neighborhood of DC, has joined the U.S. Marines in an all-out campaign to attack poverty and illiteracy in our society. The Toys for Tots Program has been bringing smiles to the faces of needy children for more than 60 years in the form of new toys and trinkets. While Toys for Tots is committed to this tradition and continues its toy program, it is extending its reach through the Toys for Tots Literacy Program.
According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, more than 16 million children in the United States –22% of all children– live in families with incomes below the federal poverty level.
In the District alone, 30.4 % of children are poor, a rate that exceeds the child poverty rate for Mexico– as reported by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. A study by the State Education Agency, a quasi-governmental office created by the U.S. Department of Education to distribute federal funds for literacy services, has found that 36% of Washington, D.C., residents are functionally illiterate and only 8% of the people with the lowest literacy skills are getting help.
In commenting on these alarming statistics Dr. Lee was quoted as saying, “This is an outrage! Only someone who doesn’t care about our city and our children would keep this quiet.” She added, “By joining with the Marines we are helping to take responsibility for over 100 disadvantaged families in the Washington, DC, area who will be assisted through the Toys for Tots Literacy Program.”
The program’s primary goal is to offer our nation’s most economically disadvantaged children the ability to compete academically and to succeed in life by providing them direct access to resources that will enhance their ability to read and to communicate effectively.
With regard to the Capital Oral & Facial Surgery Center’s participation in the program, Dr. Lee said, “We want to do our part. And we want everyone else in this city to pitch in as well.” She went on to say, “Look, not only do the Marines give the ultimate sacrifice to protect our freedom, but they are also leading the way in showing us that something can and must be done about poverty and illiteracy.”