Books for Kids Touches the Lives of Children in Need

Mom, look I have my own books. Now I can read them to my friends.” – Child who received books from Books for Kids

Willamette Writers’ Books for Kids program in partnership with Clackamas Barnes & Noble collected 3,541 new books and raised $1269.24 to purchase books for children in need. Thank you Barnes & Noble and all of the book-loving Willamette Writers supporters who helped us accomplish this feat!

Barnes & Noble’s Holiday Book Fair and Book Drive collected English and Spanish language books ranging from Early Readers to Young Adult. Books for Kids has since donated these books to Children’s Book Bank; Albertina Kerr; Goodwill; Children’s Club, YWCA; Toy and Joy; Youth, Rights, & Justice; Public Employees Retirement System; Metropolitan Family Services, Willamette Education Service District, SMART, and Impact NW.

Here are some stories about how these donations have touched lives:

YWCA Family Preservation Project Program

The YWCA distributed the books to their Family Preservation Project program, which helps incarcerated women rehabilitate and prepare for life after incarceration. The Family Preservation Project and other family-oriented programs stem from the YWCA’s Center for Justice Involved Families.

The books now live in the Early Childhood Education classroom at Coffee Creek where families meet for visitations and connect with their families by playing and reading together. Jill Morrow of YWCA called these books “a priceless gift!”

Youth, Rights & Justice

Youth, Rights & Justice strives to improve the lives of at-risk children and families in Oregon, such as children in foster care who have been abused, neglected, or in trouble. As part of their efforts, the attorneys deliver new books to their clients. They believe that children who have suffered trauma deserve brand new books of their very own.

Janeen Olsen from Youth, Rights & Justice has said that Willamette Writers Books for Kids program is their only source for new books. She told us that most of the time, when the attorneys bring our books to their clients, they “are the first new books these children have ever seen, let alone owned. The books make a tremendous difference in the lives of these children, at a time when they are the most vulnerable.”

Metropolitan Family Services

After Willamette Writers delivered books to Metropolitan Family services, the books landed in the hands of their AARP Experience Corps volunteers, adults 50 years or older who tutor children from kindergarden through third grade in the Portland Metro area. The volunteers were thrilled to receive new books in English and Spanish, enabling them to reach a diverse group of learners.

Jessica McLaren from Metropolitan Family Services said, “Getting new readers excited about reading can sometimes be a challenge, but being able to share new, culturally inclusive and age-appropriate books can be a great place to start!”

Children’s Book Bank

In 2008, The Children’s Book Bank set out to give books to children in need, and they have since supplied books to over 41,000 children from low-income families who may have never owned books before. One parent from Portland Public Schools Head Start told Children’s Book Bank that her son said, “Mom, look I have my own books. Now I can read them to my friends.”

Albertina Kerr

Willamette Writers delivered over two hundred English and Spanish books to Albertina Kerr. These books became part of Albertina Kerr’s Grant a Wish program, a holiday drive to provide gifts and cheer to children and adults with developmental disabilities and mental health challenges.

Gail Pasternack

As Secretary of Willamette Writers, Gail Pasternack records the minutes for all board meetings and the annual member meeting, is a member of the Strategic Planning Committee, and chairs the Governance Committee. She does double duty as a member of the Communications Workgroup. Gail is a writer, blogger, educator, foodie, and tango dancer. Contact her.