Donor Supported, Nationally Acclaimed Literacy Program Delivers Again In Time for Winter Break

For over a month a description plucked from a book summary resonated with Fifth Grade student Maria Deville.

“When I saw the word ‘abandoned’ I wanted to know ‘What happened?’” Maria said.

Two days before the start of her Winter Break, Maria had the opportunity to learn. That is when she entered her Marsh Run Community Center and picked up a new, free copy of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.

Maria was among 430 Homeport children to receive books from Homeport’s Bright Ideas Book Bank program.

Three hundred and eighty Homeport children had signed up to receive books to read over the holiday break.  Another 50 children were able to participate when they showed up at Homeport Book Fairs despite not registering.

The state and nationally acclaimed literacy program helps Homeport children retain learning skills and knowledge over school breaks. This is the second year in a row Homeport has provided the free, age-appropriate, culturally and character diverse books for Winter Break.

The kids thirsted for the return of the program and the books.

Once they ordered off the catalog, and submitted their selection from 76 choices, it was near agony waiting for their arrival, said Homeport after school counselor Mark Childs. “When are we going to get the books?” was a daily mantra, Childs said.

The students loved the idea of having something to do while on break.

“I’d be bored at home” without the books, said Hawa Mohammad, a 7th grader from Marsh Run.

The books, paid for by individual and corporate donations, included popular selections such as Dork Diaries: Tales from a Not So Fabulous life; 11 Birthdays;  If I Stay; The Fault In Our Stars; The Hunger Games (Book 1).

Homeport received the 2014 Literacy Leader Award from the Ohio Educational Library Media Association for its “Book Bank” program. The American Association of School Librarians awarded a “Certificate of Commendation.”

The manager of the Book Bank program, Homeport Manager of Volunteer Engagement, Morgen Wade, said each child participating in the Winter Break enrichment received two books, their top choice and a selection from donated books not in the catalog.

“Some of the extra books were new, others used. All are popular. There were 555 new books donated. Another 300 nearly new books for children and young adult books were also donated,” Wade said.

Companies and organizations that organized cash or book donations for the Book Bank Winter Drive included EMH&T, MCR, Fishel Haas Kim Albrecht LLP, Sweat Law Offices, Shremshock, St. Pius Church, Target and Starbucks.

Homeport staff and families and individual donors also participated.

“The outpouring of community support for our children is amazing. We look forward to continue growing the program for Spring Break. All I can say is ‘Thank You’ Central Ohio for caring,” Wade said.

(Individuals or organizations interested in supporting Bright Ideas Book Bank are encouraged to contact Morgen Wade, Homeport’s Manager of Volunteer Engagement, at morgen.wade@homeportohio.org., or 614 545-4817.)