— Bright Star Books, a nonprofit dedicated to putting books in the hands and homes of limited-resource children in Greater Akron, capped off a hugely successful “March into Reading” month by surpassing its 2015 book donation total in just the first three months of 2016.
Preschoolers at 15 Northeast Ohio locations of The Goddard School made the biggest donation; collecting more than 14,000 books during a month-long book drive. The Goddard Schools’ enormous generosity pushed Bright Star Books’ 2016 donations to more than 32,000 books, easily surpassing its 2015 total of 22,000.
“We’ve been truly overwhelmed by the number of books donated from throughout Northeast Ohio,” said Keith Seher, executive director of Bright Star Books. “The collective response we’ve received, and hundreds of acts of individual generosity, show people in this community are committed to investing in our children’s futures.”
Also in March, Bright Star Books expanded its distribution at Summit County Public Health’s Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program, a program which for the last year gave five developmentally appropriate books twice a year to children enrolled at the Barberton and Summit Lake WIC clinics. With the help of a Millennium Fund for Children’s Grant from Akron Community Foundation, this program now reaches children served at the Graham Road WIC clinic in Stow and the Women’s Health Clinic in Akron.
The four clinics combined serve more than 3,000 low-income children. So far, BSB has given out more than 25,000 books to limited-resource children and families since beginning distribution mid-2015.
Bright Star Books also recently hosted a “Free Book Fair” at Findley Community Learning Center in Akron, where kindergarten through fifth-grade students each had a chance to select five books to take home as their own, and a volunteer effort during which more than 1,500 books left over from a “Friends of the Nordonia Hills Library” Book Sale were donated to Good Neighbors Food Pantry in Akron by Bright Star Books’ volunteers.
Founders Christin and Keith Seher were inspired by the reaction of their son, then a 3-year-old enrolled in The Goddard School of Macedonia, to learning that unlike him, many children do not have books to read at home. Pausing a moment, he earnestly responded, “Then we have to give them some!” But with more than 60 percent of low-income children living in homes without age-appropriate books, much remains to be done. To volunteer, host a book drive, or donate to Bright Star Books, please visit www.brightstarbooks.org.