Congresswoman AOC’s Homework Helpers Project Partners with Literacy Nonprofit Start Lighthouse in the Bronx


We recently shared info about U.S Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Homework Helpers program over on The Unmuted newsletter (Are you subscribed?) and we’re excited to hear they recently partnered with literacy non-profit, Start Lighthouse in the Bronx.

Through the partnership, Start Lighthouse and Homework Helpers offer “Woke Activists”, a culturally relevant program that builds mastery literacy skills through a social justice lens to students in the East and South Bronx. This program was designed by Start Lighthouse’s team in order to cultivate a safe space for students to have conversations regarding identity, race, and social justice in a developmentally appropriate and relevant way.

How it works

Students enrolled in the program receive a customized literacy kit from Start Lighthouse. The kit consists of two brand-new culturally responsive texts, bilingual comprehension guides, and reflective activities that tailor to the books included. The literacy kits allow students to experience a world in which they can see characters and themes that reflect their identities and experiences. Woke Activists will have a positive impact on academic achievement, improve attitudes towards reading and learning, and bring critical consciousness to a community of learners.

The partnership was made official after discussions took place between Campaign Organizer Jonathan Soto and Executive Director and Co-Founder of Start Lighthouse, Rina Madhani. Start Lighthouse was founded in response to the educational inequities magnified by COVID-19, during a time of widespread school and library closures. The literacy nonprofit is committed to redistributing book wealth and supporting children in the Bronx grow their own home libraries. Similarly, AOC’s Homework Helpers Project launched in response to the difficulties of remote learning, particularly in working class families. The Homework Helpers Project has built out its own volunteer hub to support students through 1:1 and small group instruction in various subject matter.

Since launching in March 2020, Start Lighthouse has collected 3,454 brand new books, distributed 276 customized literacy kits, and impacted 385 families. For more information, visit

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