Friday, January 27, 2017

A Small, But Mighty Gift

Education is a hot topic in our country right now and, unfortunately, not always for the best reasons.  Sadly, many school districts in this country are struggling with a deficit and are making cuts to make ends meet.  This reality is terribly disturbing and, quite frankly, sad.  The future of our great nation relies on effectively educating the next generation.  I think we can all agree this is big problem that must be resolved.

Since 2013, From Cover to Cover has had the opportunity to engage with teachers and students at ten schools.  Most of the schools have had kindergarten students who have been given the gift of a book and a blanket made by countless volunteers of all ages.  Some have received new books so their students can choose a book of their very own on their birthday.  Others have had an author visit their school and students have received a complimentary copy of the author's book.  A few have had the opportunity to invite their families to a Family Literacy Night.  One has had the opportunity to engage their students in a Reading Incentive Program, been given crate home libraries for all of their kindergarten students, received new books for all of their students for Christmas and the end of the year, and a free book store prior to spring break.

The amazing part?  All of these activities and gifts have come at NO COST to the schools.

Thanks to the generosity of people, near and far, as well as grants from local civic organizations, fundraisers, and business sponsorships, From Cover to Cover has been able to provide the gift of reading to thousands of kids who are at-risk in our community over the past three years.

The opportunity to have books at home is truly a gift to so many we serve.  As we've said before, literacy is imperative for future success.  Remember this graphic?


This is where YOU come in to the picture!

While there may be a shortage in funds, I can guarantee you there is not a shortage in heart, determination, kindness, and compassion in our communities.  Earlier this year a young elementary-aged boy set up a book drive at his school and collected hundreds of books which made their way into the hands of the kids we serve.  Girl Scouts, high school students, church social groups, mom's groups, and others have given of their time to make blankets.  Businesses have set up gently used and new book drives or generously been a sponsor for our fundraising events.  Others chose children from our Book Angel Tree and purchased books for children.  Many have donated money to be used to support our programs and some have taken advantage of their employer's matching fund programs to stretch their gift even further.

Opportunities abound and your involvement is truly a life-changing gift to a child.  Help us spread the word by sharing our Facebook page with your friends, involving a group you may be a part of, or enlisting your family to clean out those bookshelves.

Our promise to you is simple:  we will be sure to use your gift wisely and assure you, your gift will be placed into the hands of children who truly cherish the opportunity to snuggle up and read and build their home libraries.

We know our program provides a light for so many and provides children with the opportunity to practice and improve their reading skills.  The smiles, high fives, hugs, and thank you's are always abundant.  We invite you to consider how you can get involved.

What role will you play in providing supplemental learning opportunities to the children who will one day be our future?  It takes a village...we hope you'll join us!





 









Monday, November 28, 2016

Book Angel Tree

Our book wish lists are complete!  We invite you and your family to participate in our first Book Angel Giving Tree!

Each grade has a wish list.  All books should be returned by December 15th to one of our drop spots in the QC or through the mail.  Instructions are listed within each virtual tree.  If you have questions, please email fromcovertocoverproject@gmail.com.

Monetary donations are also welcome via mail or through our Paypal site.

Kindergarten Wish List

1st Grade Wish List

2nd Grade Wish List

3rd Grade Wish List

4th Grade Wish List

5th Grade Wish List

Special Classes Wish List

Monday, October 31, 2016

It's More than a Book and a Blanket

Whenever a journey begins, you can never be sure where the road will lead you.  Three short years ago we began sharing the gift of a book and a blanket with kindergarten students.  We were so excited to provide this cute little treasure to them and prayed they would do what we asked:  take that blanket and book home to snuggle up and read.

After awhile we learned our cutesy little gift delivered to promote reading held much more meaning for the kiddos.  It was a gift of comfort.  It was a bed.  It was security.  That cute little warm blanket was so much more than a catchy way to encourage kids to read:  it let them know perfect strangers cared about them.  That special gift of a brand new book did the same.

We've delivered over 1000 book and blanket sets to kids in the past three years.  Thanks to so many kind volunteers 1000 plus kids have been blessed with knowing there are people out there, complete strangers, who care about their well-being and want them to thrive.

Each year our programs have expanded and our interaction with the kids has increased.  We still deliver our gift of a book and a blanket to kindergarten kiddos, but we provide a special book to kids in kindergarten through 5th grade on their birthday.  We celebrate each and every child in four schools (and the entire kindergarten class at one more) by letting them choose a book from a large collection on their birthday (or half birthday if they have a summer birthday).  It is a small gesture, but a meaningful one:  someone, a perfect stranger, cares and wants to celebrate YOU on your special day.

The addition of the Reading Incentive Program at Monroe is the next stop on our journey, and while it is still unfolding, I can sense this is going to be a big moment for us and them.  It is so much more than the books and the opportunity to read each night.  

It is the gift of being heard.  It started with an impromptu conversation with two young boys who shared they didn't care to read.  

I sat on this for a minute and then simply asked, "What would you like to read?"  

They quickly and eagerly responded, "Minecraft!  Pokemon!"

My eyes and ears were opened.  There was a little voice encouraging me to just listen.  Listen to what the kids have to say.  Let them know you have heard them loud and clear.

Last week, those boys and a few others, fully understood they were heard.  A Facebook plea for Minecraft and Pokemon books was answered.  The best part?  Children, elementary-aged children, selflessly donated their own books or purchased books using their own money to fulfill this wish. Those books were delivered to the kids' classrooms last week to be included in their classroom lending libraries.  Some wide eyes and smiles emerged after that announcement.

These sweet, thoughtful kids have important things to say and we, along with their parents, caregivers, teachers, and volunteers, are going to listen.  We are going to listen to them share about each and every book they read and we are going to listen to their suggestions for additions to their classroom lending libraries.  If all goes well, we'll deliver those books and gently let them know, "Yes.  We hear you." 

Our mission may be to promote literacy, but we have quickly learned that the journey is about so much more.  It is about showing kindness and compassion.  It is about pausing and listening to the little voices who are yearning to heard.  It is about providing a comforting gift and encouraging the next generation to be the best they can be.

They have a lot to say and with the help of our wonderful community, we can continue to let them know we hear them loud and clear.





  

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Calling All Book Angels!


For the past two years we have donated a new book to the students at Monroe during the holidays.  This year we'd like to up our game a bit!  We have been inspired by a few students at Monroe this week, as well as some kind-hearted kids who selflessly donated books other kids were interested in reading through the Reading Incentive Program.

Our goal is for kids to read, read, read.  There is no better way to encourage reading than to provide books that are of interest to each child.  We want to make this year's holiday gift extra special-one chosen BY the kids!

In early November, we'll be setting up a virtual tree through Sign-Up Genius filled with books requested by kids.  Help us reach each and every child by signing up to purchase a book or donate $5 to the cause and we'll be sure to buy it.  Get your kids involved!  This is a fantastic opportunity for kids to help other kids.

We'd like to have each child on our tree accounted for by November 30th.  Be on the lookout for our tree on our website in a few weeks!

You can donate through our Paypal account or via check.  Please email for our mailing address.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Dollars and Cents


Ever wondered how we use your donation?  The chart above indicates what your contribution can buy.  Our operational budget continues to increase each year as we provide services for more schools. 

Over the next month we will provide crate libraries to 61 students at Monroe.  Each library will contain 25 new or gently used books the kids can home and call their own.  Additionally, we are kicking off our Reading Incentive Program at Monroe and completing our first book and blanket donation.  

We also have Family Literacy Nights in the works for two schools, as well as continuing to supply books for the Birthday Book Club. 

We are busy and greatly appreciate the support from the community.  Our Cupcakes and Cocktails event was a success and we are looking forward to our next one in February.  If you'd like to attend, please visit our How to Get Involved section of our website.  It was a lot of fun!

Want to help?  We'd love to talk with you!



Monday, October 3, 2016

Fall Fun

This year is off to an incredible start!  Our Cupcakes and Cocktails fundraiser is in less than two weeks!  We would like to thank Perl Mortgage, our event sponsor, as well as Amanda Nelson with Mel Foster and Matt Sturdevant with State Farm Insurance for their sponsorships.  This event is going to be a TON of fun and all proceeds will be used to fund reading programs we provide free of cost at participating Title 1 schools in the Davenport Community School District.

1334 books have been delivered to the five elementary schools participating in our Birthday Book Club program.  We have received nothing but positive feedback from the staff at the schools.  If a picture is worth a thousand words, this pretty much sums up how awesome the gift of a book on your birthday can be!


This month the Reading Incentive Program at Monroe will kick off.  Over 1000 books will be used to create classroom lending libraries providing the students with the opportunity to take books home to read at night.  We are looking forward to seeing how this program is received by the school and the students.  Hopefully there will be some serious reading going on at night!

Family Literacy Nights, crate libraries, and book and blanket donations are also in the works.  If you are interested in getting involved, get in touch with us at fromcovertocoverproject@gmail.com.  We have opportunities for blanket making and are always taking gently used or new books.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Cupcakes & Cocktails


Join us on October 15th for a Cupcake Wars inspired night with cocktails, appetizers, and live music by local musician, Zach Reason.  The event will be held in the River Music Experience Performance Hall.  Enjoy a fun night out, sing along to some of your favorite tunes, and cast your vote for the best cupcakes in the QC!  All proceeds will be used to purchase books for our reading programs at participating Davenport elementary schools.  Ticket cost is $30, which includes light appetizers, cupcake sampling (of course!), a drink ticket, and live entertainment.  Cash bar will be set up and a silent auction will also be held.  Only 125 tickets will be sold, so reserve your spot today!

RSVP by emailing fromcovertocoverproject@gmail.com.  Once confirmed, payment may be sent via Paypal or check.