When kids at Kelly Elementary School in Southeast Portland head home for summer vacation this year, they’ll be armed with lots of reading material. Each student will be able to choose 12 books to take and to keep for their very own.
That’s important because research shows that when it comes to reading, kids need to practice. But the neighborhood around Kelly has been hit hard by the bad economy.
“Books just aren’t in the budget for most of these families and the nearest library isn’t in walking distance,” explained Laura Jones, Kelly’s librarian. That’s why Laura decided to try and collect 10,000 books for her students before the school year ends.
When Frances Geer of Sherwood read about the need, she e-mailed her granddaughter Hannah Schafroth suggesting a book drive for Kelly. Hannah, a fourth- grader at Byrom Elementary in Tualatin, was all for it. “I was thinking smart Grandma!” she told us.
With some help from her Mom, Hannah launched the “Be a Byrom Book Buddy, Pass One On” campaign. Her goal? To collect a thousand books for Kelly in just one week. By the middle of the week, Byrom students had left that goal in the dust.
“I thought that it would be sort of so-so, but a lot of people have brought in books,” said Hannah.
So many books were donated that by delivery day at Kelly Elementary, there were 40 boxes of books to unload. Kelly students and librarian Laura Jones were there to help unload and hear Hannah announce the final total.
“We collected in all 2,872 books” Hannah told the cheering students.
Kate Schafroth, Hannah’s mom , said the response was amazing. “One of the neatest things is to see how excited the kids are when they hand over their books. They are ready to share with someone else. It’s a win-win for both schools.”
Grandma Geer was beaming.” It’s been amazing; every moment has been a wow moment.”
Hannah is already looking ahead. “We just made on mistake,” she said,” We should have set our goal for higher, way higher!”