Historically, our organization has worked with children and youth as the primary target population of our philanthropic efforts. In the early 90s, there was much interest centered on bilingualism in the classroom and the high illiteracy rates across America. At age four, Latino children tend to have less developed school-related skills than their caucasian counterparts. By age nine, Latino students lag behind in reading, mathematics, and science proficiency. Thus, in the spring of 2000, the sorority decided to focus its efforts and funding on literacy. Sigma Lambda Upsilon advocates for literacy as a means of ensuring the empowerment and success of our nation and the people of its diverse communities. We strive to encourage literacy as an activity that affords limitless possibilities and promotes reading and writing as enjoyable, exciting, and empowering.
We believe literacy is power. We believe literacy is freedom. We believe literacy is lifelong learning. Literacy is more than just reading. We define literacy as does UNESCO—the ability to identify, understand, interpret, create, communicate, compute and use printed and written materials associated with varying contexts. We acknowledge that literacy can be expanded to include many areas such as: financial literacy, technological literacy, health literacy and more. Literacy—in all its forms—empowers us to transform our lives for ourselves and others. The premise of our philanthropic work focuses on the power of literacy to uplift our communities and foster confidence in our young people, and for them to advance toward their educational, personal, and professional goals. In turn, our children will be set on the right path toward establishing a foundation of success for our communities and our nation as a whole.