Charity League, Inc., a local Charlotte charity founded in1921, is dedicated to improving childhood academic achievement, pro-social behavior and self-worth. With emphasis on children at risk, the League developed its Little People-Big Needs program in 2002. Working primarily through at-risk CMS elementary schools and pre-k centers, this program helps to improve and enrich the lives of children who are in need of nourishment, clothing and personal hygiene essentials; living in poverty and/or shelters; and those who are sight-impaired and/or learning-challenged.

Assistance is provided to a group of center-city children living in the Julia Avenue area. After-school snacks are provided year round, with extra snacks provided during the summer months. Outdoor parties are held in the Julia Avenue neighborhood where the children receive clothing, basic school supplies, book bags, games, toys and refreshments. A holiday party was given where children received a warm meal, needed coats, and giant stockings filled with essentials, toys and games.

To assist elementary sight-impaired children, a complete library of Braille books was provided for these students to take home from school and read with their families. New computer software was installed, allowing up to five of these students to use the learning assistance program simultaneously.

Through Little People-Big Need, several school clothing closets are furnished with school uniforms, clothing, coats/hats/gloves, socks and underwear. At some schools, necessities are provided for the school nurse to care for ill or injured children. These supplies range from band-aids and thermometer covers all the way up to refrigerators used to store student medications and ice for bumps and bruises.

Snacks are provided to elementary schools to assist with student hunger abatement. Prior to the December break, approximately four tons of apples were distributed to the children to take home and enjoy over the holidays.

In order to enhance their life and learning experiences, opportunities are provided for children to attend Camp Thunderbird. Recreational experiences at these schools have been improved by providing new playground equipment and outdoor reading benches for the children.

To support student literacy, many school media centers and classrooms were provided with books for children to take home and read. In many of the classrooms, students no longer find it necessary to share books while learning. It is Charity League's wish that every young child be provided the opportunity to learn to read. If we could give them but one gift, this would be the greatest of all.

The generosity of Speedway Children's Charities during the past several years has allowed this program to expand and reach children numbering in the thousands. This could not have been achieved without SCC's grant funding. Charity League, Inc. is grateful for their support, and on behalf of the little people we serve, Charity League offers sincere thanks to Speedway Children's Charities.